Magpie Murders

Written by Anthony Horowitz

Review written by Ali Karim

Ali Karim was a Board Member of Bouchercon [The World Crime & Mystery Convention] and co-chaired programming for Bouchercon Raleigh, North Carolina in 2015. He is Assistant Editor of Shots eZine, British correspondent for The Rap Sheet and writes and reviews for many US magazines & Ezines.


Magpie Murders
Orion
RRP: £7.99
Released: November 16 2017
PBK

Horowitz’s love of the British Golden Age mystery is evident in this intricate homage to Dame Agatha Christie. Reviewers are often on the hunt for something new, something fresh; and “Magpie Murders” is just that - a most unusual take on the British Golden Age Mystery Novel.

The literary device utilised by Horowitz takes the shape of a “novel within a novel” as well as a reflection on British Crime Fiction Publishing, as there are some characters named after real-life figures, such as Angela McMahon [Horowitz’ own Publicity Manager] among others.

When literary Editor Susan Ryeland introduces bestselling author Alan Conway’s ninth novel about Greek / German detective Atticus Pünd, “Magpie Murders” - she indicates this novel changed her life. The novel opens with the funeral of Mary Elizabeth Blakiston, housekeeper to Sir Magnus Pye. It appears she tripped over a Vacuum cleaner cable and tumbled to her death down the staircase. It seems that Blakiston’s death was an accident; until the decapitated body of Sir Magnus Pye is discovered. This leads to Conway’s post-war sleuth Atticus Pünd and his assistant to head to Somerset from his London lodgings to investigate [assisting the local police]. It appears that Pünd is facing a terminal condition of his own, so it could be his last case, and one that features more Red Herrings than a Coastal Fishing Vessel.

However the genius of this novel is that Alan Conway’s murder mystery “Magpie Murders” appears populated by characters who are disguised versions of real-life people. The first problem is that Ryeland discovers that Conway appears to have committed suicide, but that perhaps his death is actually murder – and the clues as to the perpetrator lie within “Magpie Murders”. The second problem is that the final chapters of the manuscript of “Magpie Murders” are missing.

A most unusual Murder Mystery, and one that makes the reader work hard for the entertainment and insight torn from the devious mind of Anthony Horowitz.

In two words, “Magpie Murders” is “Bloody Good”. 



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