Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on June 6, 2017 (originally published October 6, 2016)
Genre(s): fiction, crime, mystery
Format & Length: paperback, 496
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When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.
Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.
After reading the blurb for Magpie Murders, I had a feeling this would be a book I would enjoy, but I wasn’t entirely prepared for just how much I wound I up loving it!
Between the fact that this is a book within a book, the homage to classic British mystery, and all the bookish references and other puzzles hidden within, the set up for this is one that hit all the right notes for me. This begins with editor Susan sitting down to read the latest manuscript from author Alan Conway and then jumps right into his book, a historical fiction mystery reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s work. There are two mysteries contained within these pages: one in Conway’s novel; and one in the modern setting. Not only are they interwoven nicely to provide an ultimately quite satisfying experience, I was also extremely impressed with the author’s ability to write in both styles, making this both seamless and extremely readable.
Magpie Murders is both well plotted and perfectly paced. As someone who reads a lot of mysteries, I often find myself solving them way before the actual reveal. In this case, I had an inkling of how I thought it might turn out, and while it was correct I was happy to be kept guessing for longer than usual.
Ultimately, Magpie Murders was right up my alley! I’d definitely recommend this to fans of mysteries and books about books. And I can’t wait to try more by Anthony Horowitz!