Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Review: The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

We caught up with Kerry Hammond to see what she thought of the latest standalone novel by the prolific British writer Anthony Horowitz.

Anthony Horowitz is the author of the critically acclaimed mystery Magpie Murders, published earlier this year. He was the producer of the first seven episodes of Midsomer Murders, and the creator and writer of another great British mystery drama, Foyle’s War. He was commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate to write two new Sherlock Holmes books and the Ian Fleming Estate to write Trigger Mortis, a novel featuring James Bond. The Word is Murder, his latest standalone, released on June 5 from Harper publishers.

The Word is Murder began as a bit of a surreal experience. The protagonist of the story is writer Anthony Horowitz. Yes, the very same Anthony Horowitz who is….the author of the book. He lists his credentials as novelist and television creator and producer; then it turns to fiction, or at least I think it does. Horowitz, in the story, is approached by ex-police detective, Daniel Hawthorne, and asked to write a story about his investigation into the death of a woman who planned her own funeral six hours before her murder. Horowitz reluctantly follows along, writing about the search for the killer. The investigation takes them back ten years, to the death of a child in a seaside town at the hands—or vehicle—of their current victim. Whether or not it played a part in the murder is part of the mystery.

I loved that there was a thin and obscure delineation between fact and fiction. The blurred line between the real life novelist and the character he plays in his own book was very intriguing. Horowitz by no means tries to make himself out to be the hero of the story. We actually see how Hawthorne controls the show and leads the writer around in the investigation, sometimes telling him so little about what is going on as to be dangerous to everyone involved.

This is my first Horowitz book but definitely not my last. I enjoyed the author’s ability to tell an interesting and compelling story that kept me engaged and guessing. I felt that Hawthorne was leading me as well, and I, like Horowitz, was clueless until the very last minute.

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