The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz (book review).

September 1, 2017 | By | Reply More

‘The Word Is Murder’ in the new book by Anthony Horowitz and features in a supporting role, Anthony Horowitz! In another twist on the genre, after his highly successful and intriguing ‘Magpie Murders’, Horowitz gets us into the story by foul means.

Horowitz is approached by Hawthorne, a private detective, who wants to do a deal. He wants to be the star of Anthony’s next book. Hawthorne is very annoying and persistent. He gives very little of himself but demands answers and responses from Horowitz. Hawthorne has an intriguing murder, almost a classic locked room case and he wants a 50:50 deal. Hear the literary agents cry, ‘Nooo!’ Without meaning to, Horowitz gets sucked into an intrigue. Who could resist the murder of a woman who, hours before, has arranged her own funeral?

The essence of the case is the difficult relationship between the writer and the detective. The egos clash and the writer ‘wins’, as it is he who gets to do the writing and order the events. Wrong footing the reader with details of the writer’s ‘real life’, there is a constant desire to understand if any of this is true or if it simply part of the fiction. I say ‘simply’ but it really throws me to consider Horowitz as the protagonist. In my mind, I have cast Anton Lesser as the avatar of Horowitz strolling the London streets in a state of woeful ignorance. What he is clearly trying to say to us is that no matter how many books and plots you can construct, don’t think you can second guess a psychopath.

I love this book as it as it wasn’t a run of the mill mystery. Horowitz has fun with us. He invites us into his world and runs around us in circles laughing. Part of this is almost a memoir, except whilst you are enjoying the little autobiographical facts you can’t help wondering which garden path you are currently being steered up.

As an example of alternative fiction, this throws a few curve balls to the reader. At some point, you desperately want this to be a true story and then you don’t. A fine example of the unreliable narrator, ‘The Word Is Murder’ is one long tease with an exciting denouement that brings it to a breathless conclusion. There is definitely scope for a couple of sequels if Horowitz has the time.

Sue Davies

August 2017

(pub: Century/Random House. 400 page hardback. Price: £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-780-89684-7)

check out website: www.randomhouse.co.uk

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Category: Books, Scifi

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