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Magpie Murders Hardcover – 6 Oct 2016

4.1 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (6 Oct. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409158365
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409158363
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 4.3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

An ingenious novel-within-a-novel whodunit about the death of a crime writer . . . Part crime novel, part pastiche, this magnificent piece of crime fiction plays with the genre while also taking it seriously (Sunday Times)

A cunning re-invention of the thriller formula (Thriller of the Week Mail on Sunday)

Superbly written, with great suspects, a perfect period feel and a cracking reveal at the end (Spectator)

A stylish, multi-layered thriller - playful, ingenious and wonderfully entertaining (Sunday Mirror)

Brilliant. Really, really brilliant. I loved it. (Sophie Hannah, author of The Monogram Murders)

Putting two books in one with their plots running side by side makes Magpie Murders difficult to put down and Horowitz fans will thoroughly enjoy a cracking good read (Daily Express)

Although at first glance Horowitz's latest offering appears to be a classic whodunit novel, it will almost certainly prove to be unlike anything you've ever read before, and will have you mulling over its various intrigues in between sittings. (Scotsman)

Anthony Horowitz's new novel is at once a brilliant pastiche of the English village mystery and a hugely enjoyable tale of avarice and skulduggery in the world of publishing . . . a compendium of dark delights (Irish Times)

We loved this Agatha Christie-esque crime novel. A fiendish mystery within a mystery that will have you hooked from page one (Good Housekeeping)

A highly enjoyable twist on the classic whodunnit (Metro)

Horowitz is a superb pasticheur. (Guardian)

Book Description

Author of MORIARTY and TRIGGER MORTIS, Anthony Horowitz offers up a whodunit like no other in this fiendishly clever new novel.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This novel is a very entertaining and accomplished homage to the classic whodunit book in general, and Agatha Christie’s mysteries in particular, and revolves around a lengthy extract from a novel written by one of the characters.

Over the years I have become I am rather wary of extended meta fiction as I find that too many novelists struggle to sustain the illusion of a book-within-a-book. There are some wonderful exceptions, of course, such as Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Blind Assassin’ in which she pulls off a triple-whammy with a book written by one of her characters which in turn feature a story written by one of the meta characters. The action moves seamlessly between the three stylistically contrasted narratives (all of which are called ‘The Blind Assassin’), culminating in a finely crafted conclusion. In my experience, however, such a feat is the exception rather than the rule.

I had no such worries about Anthony Horowitz’s ability to sustain a plausible novel within a novel. In recent years he has been commissioned by the literary estates of both Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming to write new books in the Sherlock Holmes and James Bond series, and has met the challenge admirably. Indeed, I far preferred his ‘Trigger Mortis’ to Sebastian Faulks’s addition to the Bond oeuvre, and found it completely matched the originals in style and content.

In ‘Magpie Murders’ Horowitz gives free rein to his stylistic variations. The novel is narrated by Susan Ryeland, chief editor at a small publishing house. She is handed the manuscript of the latest novel (also called ‘Magpie Murders’) written by Alan Conway.
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Format: Hardcover
I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. I've tried not to give spoilers!

Let me just say up front - I did enjoy this book, but it was odd...

The novel is essentially two books in one. Firstly, there is the 'fictional' murder mystery, 'Magpie Murders', written by Alan Conway and featuring his celebrated detective Atticus Pund. Secondly, there is an investigation by publishing executive Susan Ryeland (a representative of the company publishing 'Magpie Murders') into another mysterious murder. The two narratives are linked as the fictional story supposedly contains clues to the real life crime.

Both of the narratives are pleasing, full of shady characters, red herrings and plenty of hidden motives. However, what I found awkward were the parts of the novel that just seemed a bit...smug. We get the publisher's views on the Pund book, which essentially boils down to Horowitz critiquing his own story. Clever or a bit weird? I think the latter.

Given that this is basically two novels in one, it is a long book. While lots of it rattles along merrily, I did find the middle section harder to get through before the story picked up for the finale. There were easily a few sections that could have been cut down without detracting from the story.

Overall, I would recommend this to people who love cosy crime fiction - there's no real tragedy or graphic forensic detail here, which I think is positive. However, readers have to be prepared to stick with the two narratives - with all their quirks and flabby bits - as the payoff is ultimately satisfying.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was an enjoyable read and, as one would expect from Horowitz, full of tricky twists and turns. The pastiche parts were well handled with the right period touches and no glaring anachronisms.
My major moan is that in the Kindle versions (for reasons which would be something of a plot spoiler to reveal) much of the book appears in very pale type -- extremely tiring to read on a Paperwhite, if the story hadn't been so gripping the discomfort would probably have made me give up!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a crime novel within a crime novel. It opens with a book editor reading the manuscript of the latest crime novel from their best-selling (but fairly obnoxious) author, Alan Conway. Conway’s detective, Atticus Púnd, is in the style of Hercule Poirot and assists the obviously slow police detectives to solve crimes in typical English villages during the 1950s. In this his latest adventure, Atticus Púnd is dying and knows it will be his last case. Having supplied a good selection of acquaintances and relatives in the village with a motive for murder, the author kills off the local lord of the manor in a suitably gruesome fashion and we follow Atticus as he unravels the mystery. However the final pages of the novel are missing. So we then follow Susan, the editor, as she attempts to track them down after the sudden death of the author in a supposed suicide (which she soon decides is murder).
There are a lot of word clues and references to Poirot in the text, plus a lot of sly digs and references to the publishing world. To be honest I couldn’t make up my mind if I liked it or not most of the time. It just seemed to be trying too hard to be clever in places. Whilst both crimes are solved very neatly at the end I found it was a book that engaged my mind but never touched my heart. I would have given it 3.5 stars had that option been available because while I liked it in places I couldn't say I loved it.
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