Tag Archives: Anthony Horowitz

#BookReview ‘Moonflower Murders’ by @AnthonyHorowitz #crime

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz is a sandwiching together of two mysteries – one murder, one disappearance – that take place eight years apart in the same place. Second in Horowitz’s crime series featuring literary agent Susan Ryeland and Atticus Pünd, the fictional hero of her client Alan Conway’s 1950s detective books – are you keeping up? – this is at the same time a page-turning read and a mystifying Rubik’s Cube challenge. Definitely a book that will reward re-reading. Anthony Horowitz

Susan’s, now deceased, author Conway loved word play and riddled his short novels with in-jokes, complicated clues and witticisms. Many of these only make sense at the very end of Horowitz’s book. Susan, now living in Crete with boyfriend Andreas, running the just-surviving Hotel Polydorus, is asked by the owners of Branlow Hall hotel in Suffolk to investigate the disappearance of their daughter Cecily. Eight years earlier, one of the hotel’s staff was convicted of murdering a guest, Frank Parris. Shortly after the trial, Conway visited the hotel after which he wrote, Atticus Pünd Takes the Case. The book was edited by Susan who knew nothing about the links to the real-life crime.

Cecily, who manages Branlow Hall with her sister, reads Conway’s novel and is certain the wrong man was convicted of the crime. And then she disappears. How did Conway use the real crime in his fictional Atticus Pünd mystery to reveal the true murderer? What did Cecily see in the book that convinced her of the convict’s innocence? How can Susan unravel the clues and fit together two completely separate stories? And what has happened to Cecily?

The story is littered with clues, everyone has something to hide and it seems everyone is lying. Alongside the detecting we have the continuing story of Susan’s life – did she do the right thing in moving from London to Crete, should she marry Andreas or leave him, can she really be happy running a hotel and not editing books? And like the first in the series, Magpie Murders, there is also a book-within-a-book; we also get to read Atticus Pünd Takes the Case.

Layer upon layer, at times there are so many twists and turns it seems tortuous. Yes, there are coincidences and convenient secrets but if you enjoy Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot you will enjoy spotting the Christie links. If you go-with-the-flow and don’t get caught up on keeping track of the details, this is a fun read.

Here’s my review of Magpie Murders, first in the Susan Ryeland series.

If you like this, try:-
A Death in the Dales’ by Frances Brody
The Vanished Bride’ by Bella Ellis
Lord John and the Private Matter’ by Diana Gabaldon

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
MOONFLOWER MURDERS by @AnthonyHorowitz #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-5j9 via @SandraDanby

#BookReview ‘Magpie Murders’ by @AnthonyHorowitz #crime

In the tradition of the theatrical play-within-a-play, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz is a detective-mystery-within-a-detective-mystery. First in the Susan Ryeland series, more of her later, Horowitz has written a page-turner laced intricately with clues, delivered by a fictional detective in the Poirot tradition. Anthony Horowitz

Susan Ryeland is head of fiction at Cloverleaf Books whose star writer is Alan Conway, author of the hugely successful Atticus Pünd crime series. Reading the manuscript of his latest submission, Magpie Murders, Susan is surprised to find the last chapters are missing. The murderer remains unnamed. Worse, Alan Conway has committed suicide. If Ryeland and her boss Charles Clover don’t find the missing chapters they can’t publish the book. And with no future books to come from Conway, the company may go bust.

The first half of the book is dedicated to Conway’s story of his fictional private detective, Pünd, who investigates one accidental death and one murder which take place in the same West Country village within days of each other. The victims knew each other. There must be a connection. In classic Agatha Christie style, the possibilities, lies and secrets are discovered by Pünd but he keeps his conclusions to himself.

The second half of the book tells how Ryeland first sets out to find the missing part of the manuscript. But increasingly puzzled by inconsistencies and lies in those surrounding Conway, she begins to suspect his death was not suicide. And that the answer lies in the manuscript of Magpie Murders. Did Conway fear for his life, and did he leave clues behind for his killer to be brought to justice.

This is such a clever beginning to what is a new detective series from Horowitz, who has written extensively for television including Midsomer Murders and Poirot. All the tropes of the classic detective novel are here – family arguments, a crook going straight, injustice, jealousy and rivalry, mixed up with the tensions of a local community where everyone knows everyone else’s secrets… or do they? Why is the vicar so hesitant when answering Pünd’s questions? Why did a son tell his mother he wished she were dead? Who stole a dangerous drug from the GP’s surgery and what did they do with it?

I’ve read some good books recently but none that kept me reading into the dark of the night until my eyes drooped. Oh, and I guessed wrong the wrong murderer.

Good fun.

If you like this, try:-
A Death in the Dales’ by Frances Brody
The Art of the Imperfect’ by Kate Evans
The Guest List’ by Lucy Foley

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
MAGPIE MURDERS by @AnthonyHorowitz #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-5bC via @SandraDanby