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Young Adult Fiction Mysteries & Detective Stories

A Thief in the House of Memory

by (author) Tim Wynne-Jones

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
May 2006
Mysteries & Detective Stories, Parents, Boys & Men
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2006
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2004
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 0
  • Grade: p to 12
  • Reading age: 0


It has been six years since sixteen-year-old Dec's free-spirited mother, Lindy, disappeared. Dec feels so trapped in the present that he has avoided examining his past. But when an intruder dies in the museum-like family home, the man's death sends forth tremors that reawaken forgotten memories. Suddenly Dec is flooded with visions of his mother so tangible it's hard to believe they're not real.

At least Dec has his best friend -- gifted, funny Ezra -- to help him sort out what's real and what isn't. But as Dec's dream visions of his mother turn into nightmares, Ezra announces he's going away, leaving Dec haunted by questions that must be answered. What did happen to his mother? And who really is the thief in the house of memory?

About the author

TIM WYNNE-JONES is one of Canada's foremost writers for children. The author of over thirty-five books, he is a two-time winner of the Governor General's Award, as well as a two-time winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and of the Arthur Ellis Award. His short-story collections include Some of the Kinder Planets, Book of Changes and Lord of the Fries. He is also known for his Rex Zero series. Recently, he wrote the young-adult novels The Ruinous Sweep; Emperor of Any Place, which earned seven starred reviews; and Blink & Caution, which won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. Tim is also the recipient of the Edgar Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. In 2012, he was made an Officer to the Order of Canada. He lives in Perth, Ontario.


Tim Wynne-Jones' profile page


  • Long-listed, Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award
  • Short-listed, CLA Young Adult Canadian Book Award
  • Commended, CCBC Our Choice (Starred Selection)

Editorial Reviews

Wynne-Jones skillfully builds tension in his interdependent conflicts that emphasize the importance of the truth.

CM Magazine

From first chapter to last, Wynne-Jones masterfully evokes the surreal quality of faded memories enhanced or distorted by the imagination. Readers will be just as consumed as the hero is in his search for answers.

Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

...this rich and rewarding novel will appeal most to thoughtful readers who appreciate a sad and bittersweet read.

School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Wynne-Jones' writing is beyond the familiar...In this prose, nothing is lost; like good poetry, each word carries its own weight and meaning.

Toronto Star

Wynne Jones' writing style is very vivid, fresh and evocative...

Globe and Mail

This beautifully written and distinctive novel combines a suspenseful mystery with an intriguing family drama about secrets.

School Library Journal

In this complex and multi-layered coming-of-age novel...TIm Wynne-Jones, with his usual adept brush strokes, paints another portrait of an appealing teenager's internal journey as he struggles to understand his loss, to accept change, and to create meaning within his world. Highly Recommended.

Canadian Children's Literature - CBRA

Equal parts tricky and haunting: unambiguously memorable.

Horn Book

Whether he's making our skin tingle with unease in the dark mansion, or making us chortle at the witty, affectionate banter of Declan's school friends...his prose is polished to a gleam.

Quill & Quire

...part gripping mystery and part psychological study of how the past influences the present. It is a short, surprising novel, beautifully observed and totally absorbing.

Young Post

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