With its unorthodox protagonist, clever plotting, brilliantly imperfect characters, and escalating sense of urgency and intrigue, The Word is Murder is an instant crime classic that will keep you reading as fast as you can.
Like the best mysteries, the plot of The Word is Murder can be summed up simply: a wealthy woman is found strangled in her home six hours after she has arranged her own funeral. Who killed her? And why? Enter: former police detective turned private investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his reluctant sidekick, Anthony Horowitz. Yes: as in, The Author Of The Very Same Book You Are Reading, Anthony Horowitz; who penned the bestselling Alex Rider series, the last official James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, two Sherlock Holmes mysteries, not to mention his work in television; and as The Word is Murder opens, is currently in the middle of re-writes for the second Tintin film, and doesn’t feel particularly compelled by Hawthorn’s officer to trail the unconventional detective as he works the case, but is gradually lured by the enigma of Diana Cowper’s murder.
The novel is told entirely from Horowitz’s perspective. He seamlessly blends the real world with his fiction, constantly throwing in references to his everyday — his ongoing writing projects, dealing with agents and publishers, looming deadlines — that enhance rather than hinder the narrative, adding a layer of authenticity to the book’s great tapestry. Horowitz is the master at pulling away the surface of his characters to expose their deeper—and often ugly—layers, and isn’t afraid to put himself under the same microscope. The clashing of personalities — especially between himself and Hawthorn — is authoritatively evoked, and readers will find themselves turning pages not just to uncover the truth behind Mrs. Cowper’s murder, but to spend more time inside Horowitz’s head to enable another glimse of the enigmatic detective.
The mystery itself is meticulously crafted, unfolding with increasing velocity as the dots start to connect for both the protagonist and the reader, the clues, of which there are many, laid bare. Even better, Horowitz produces a couple of bombshell twists, saving one revelation for the final pages, which proves bittersweet: by the time readers reach this stage of The Word is Murder, they’ll be distraught knowing the end is so very near, sated perhaps by the knowledge that this is the first book in an intended series.
The Word is Murder is one of the best and most compulsively readable mysteries of the year. Hugely satisfying on every level.
(234mm x 153mm x mm)
Publish Date: 24-Aug-2017
Country of Publication: United Kingdom