Author: Anthony Horowitz
Published: June 6, 2017 by Harper
Hardcover: 477 pages
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
To Purchase: Magpie Murders
Time Magazine calls Magpie Murders “catnip for classic mystery lovers”, and I couldn’t agree more! I loved this one! This novel is a book within a book. It starts in the present day publishing world when book editor, Susan Ryeland sits down to read her client’s latest murder mystery. You, as the reader, read it right along with her. The manuscript takes place in the 1950’s in a small village near London. It is a classic whodunnit mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie. It’s one of those books that you want to read slowly and take in every detail, because the author is dropping little clues along the way.
When we come to the end of the manuscript, the killer’s identity is NOT revealed. We circle back to present day, only to discover Alan Conway, the author has just died of an apparent suicide. Convinced that there are missing chapters at the end that would have revealed the killer’s identity, Susan goes in search of them. Along the way, it’s clear to her that her cantankerous client had more than a few enemies and she’s convinced that his death may not have been a suicide after all. As the reader, we start to see parallels between the two stories, and it becomes clear that in solving one of the mysteries, we will be solving both. Getting there is so much fun as Susan discovers that Alan loved putting hidden meanings, anagrams, and other wordplay in his books.
In explaining why readers love whodunnits so much, Susan says “In just about every other book I can think of we’re chasing on the heels of our hero’s – the spies, the soldiers, the romantics, the adventurers. But we stand shoulder to shoulder with the detective. From the very start, we have the same aim – and it’s actually a simple one. We want to know what really happened and neither of us are in it for the money.”
Besides Agatha Christie, this book also reminded me a lot of the Louise Penny books. It takes place in a quaint village setting; there’s a detective who arrives as an outsider; it’s a mysterious, complicated murder and any number of characters could have done it.
This book is for those that love vintage English crime fiction, or contemporary mysteries for that matter, because you get both in this book! I thought it was a brilliant, well thought out book with a unique concept. This is going on my list of favorite books for 2017! I absolutely loved it!