Review Blog

Dec 07 2016

Magpie murders by Anthony Horowitz

cover image

Orion Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781409158370
Themes: Murder mystery; Truth and Lies. Horowitz is a masterful writer of mysteries and in the Magpie Murders he weaves two stories together - the mystery of the unfinished manuscript by Alan Conway, the renowned Murder Mystery writer, and then the death of that writer in unusual circumstances. Those circumstances though have parallels to the book that he has written. Susan Ryeland, the editor who would normally rework the manuscript making it suitable for publishing, becomes embroiled in the mysteries and her normal joy in having the narrative denouement revealed by the clever but mysterious private detective character (comparable to Hercule Poirot) is hijacked as she takes over the detective role herself in uncovering the missing chapters. The consequence is that we see woven together two stories with many parallels and the reader is forced to predict and disentangle red herrings and attempt to solve the mystery. The original Conway work (and its missing chapters) are set in Post-War England and are very reminiscent of Agatha Christie style murder mysteries; but the work of Ryeland in uncovering the missing chapters and determining if Conway's passing was at his own hand is more contemporary, but still a formulaic Murder mystery tale with an inquisitive and untrusting 'detective' very keen on bringing to light the truth.
For everyone who has enjoyed an Agatha Christie novel or loved watching a British Murder mystery drama on television, this book will entice and appeal. I cannot believe how disappointed I was (joining Ryeland) when the Magpie Murders was not initially solved . . . I too wanted to find a solution. The fact that this occurs half way through the tome should have given me more insight that this book was more than a straightforward story, but don't be surprised with the twists and turns; that is the nature of a murder-mystery!
Carolyn Hull

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