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Twitch plans to spend the summer holiday in the hide he’s been working on. It is fully equipped and safely hidden in Aves Wood from birds, intruders or any of the school peers who mock and bully him.

Twitch finds sanctuary with birds, whether it be his chickens, or the pigeons he’s nursed and reared so that they’ve two squabs and are ready to train. Then there’s his swallow’s nest, perfectly fitted within his bedroom.

Yet his plans are interrupted by the appearance of a stranger, at first coming to the rescue when Twitch is attacked. Thereafter, sweets and questions about Briddvale ensue. While the stranger is friendly and seeks to connect with Twitch over bird-watching, there is something about him that feels uneasy to the boy.

Twitch is uneasy when Jack, one of his bullies, seeks out his friendship. It’s true that Twitch comes to his rescue on a couple of occasions, but Jack is arrogant, easy, fluent and has been quick to put ‘Corvus’ down. Is Jack to be trusted?

Briddvale is full of police, too, seeking down an escaped armed robber, said to have hidden £5 million in cash somewhere in Aves Wood. How might this impact on Twitch and his hide?

There is a lot at play for our main character. From the outset, we believe in Twitch, and travel his path, collecting eggs for Amina, taking on another paper run, and connecting with Grandad from the shelter of the hide. Therefore, we are wary of Billy, Jack and the two strange girls in the woods. What is really going on?

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M.G. Leonard


Twitch exceeds everyone’s expectations when he fights off the injured pigeon’s attackers. Yet this boy is someone very easily underestimated and underappreciated, especially by his peers. Yet his Mum and Mr Bettany and then his neighbour, Amina, know this boy is made of stellar stuff. It seems as though his grandfather’s inspiration is deep within his bones, so that he’s immersed in birding, taking home the injured pigeon to raise it with plans for training. Then again, he’s raised three chickens and has a swallow’s nest organised within his bedroom.
Not only does Corvus, as he’s registered, know every bird by sight, but he can recognise their dawn chorus cries.  Then there’s his hide in Aves Wood. This place is a sanctuary, perfectly formed, hidden and ideal for birdwatching. Yet this summer, it seems that the hide might be needed in very different ways.
When an escaped robber is reported as hiding in Aves Wood, our hero is curious. Then again, he wonders if he’s meet him. Who is the man who rescues him from further attack from Jack? Why does he profess to be a birdwatcher when he cannot identify birds? Who are the girls in the wood? Why does Jack want to hang out with him? It’s all getting too close and rather too uncertain.
After the Beetle Boy series and The Highland Falcon Thief, (Adventures on Trains), acclaimed writer M.G. Leonard offers the first in a new mystery adventure series. What’s more it is thoroughly engrossing so that we believe Twitch, the setting, the mystery and drama. Bookwagon recommends this middle grade adventure highly!

Sainsbury’s Fiction Book of the Year

1 review for Twitch

  1. Paula Hale

    This is superbly written, M G Leonard is an excellent writer and is one of my go to authors. I have loved following this mystery and the story of friendship, alongside the amazing facts about birds. I will be recommending this far and wide.

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