While some authors keep their publishers and readers happy by ploughing the same ground book after book, Anthony Horowitz likes to keep his guessing by switching genre and writing style from one book to the next.
While young readers love his Alex Rider books, older bookworms have been gripped by his take on familiar literary figures such as James Bond and Sherlock Holmes.
Early in his career he worked on TV series such as Midsomer Murders and Foyles War, and with this book he returns to his writing roots with a superbly thought-through whodunit.
Actually, the book is a whodunnit about a whodunnit, so Horowitz gives us two detective stories between the covers, one book playing a central role in the investigation of the author’s death.
If that sounds complicated, it certainly must have been for Horowitz to work out the plotting and timelines. Thankfully, his skill as a writer means that both books are a joy to read and their very different styles means there’s never any confusion between the two of them.
Fans of vintage crime fiction, particularly those who like the works of Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle and the like will appreciate the many nods to their work. These are helpfully pointed out if, like me, you overlooked some of them. The plot twists come thick and fast and when it comes to revealing the killer’s identity you’ll be chiding yourself that you didn’t spot the clues which were there all the time.
It was particularly satisfying to see Horowitz had included many real places as well as people in the publishing world. As a one-time Geography student, the mention of real places in a book has me turning to a map to check for inconsistencies, but there were none.
A great read that will have you guessing until the end.
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz