The Word Is Murder: The bestselling mystery from the author of Magpie Murders – you've never read a crime novel quite like this (Detective Daniel Hawthorne 1) Hardcover – 24 Aug 2017
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"Ingenious twist on the classic whodunnit" (The Guardian)
"Splendidly entertaining, absorbing and difficult to put down. Hawthorne is an intriguing character" (Daily Express)
"Horowitz is strong on plot … and infectiously zestful" (Daily Telegraph)
"A real page-turner. I loved it!" (ALED JONES (ITV, Weekend))
"Raises the game-playing to Olympic level." (Guardian Books of the Year)
"Actually the word is not murder, it's ingenious ... A masterful meta-mystery." (Booklist)
"The beguiling whodunit plot is dispatched with characteristic elan as Horowitz blurs the line between fact and fiction" (Financial Times)
"There is plenty of metafictional fun to be had" (The Guardian)
"Fast-paced and full of unpredictable twists and turns." (The Times Audiobook of the week)
"Horowitz has put together a cleverly twisting mystery featuring plenty of suspicious characters and more than a few red herrings" (Nudge)
About the Author
ANTHONY HOROWITZ is the author of the bestselling teen spy series, Alex Rider, and is also responsible for creating and writing some of the UK's most loved and successful TV series, including Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War.
He has also written two highly acclaimed Sherlock Holmes novels, The House of Silk and Moriarty; a James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis; and his most recent stand-alone novel, Magpie Murders, was a Top Five Sunday Times bestseller.
He is on the board of the Old Vic Theatre, and was awarded an OBE for his services to literature in January 2014.
The Word is Murder is the first in a series of crime novels starring Detective Daniel Hawthorne.
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Horowitz seemlessly mixes reality with fantasy (of course it's fiction and none of it happened, but your disbelief is very readily suspended) until you don't know where one ends and the other begins. Is he using the real name of his agent? Did that building really exist? Has he ever met someone like Hawthorne in real life? There is a wonderful scene where the gruff detective bursts into a meeting about a Tintin film script Horowitz is having with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. How much of this happened? You don't know and, naturally, you don't care but it creates a deliciously ambiguous halfway house between the world we know and the parallel universe of detective fiction. In fact, Hawthorne is perhaps the most realistic new detective to appear for a very long time.
I thought I'd worked it out quite early on and was delighted when the fictional version of Anthony Horowitz (or 'Tony' as Hawthorne calls him) began thinking along the same lines. We were, of course, both completely wrong. The real Horowitz had flummoxed us as usual.
The story seems to be a simple murder mystery with a private investigator brought in to solve it. But unlike other books, the author himself is actually a character IN HIS OWN BOOK!! Yes, that’s right Anthony Horowitz appears as himself and this gives the book a truly authentic and original feel! Sometimes it felt almost autobiographical as Horowitz talked about his writing plus his current and past projects with plenty of name dropping along the way. The narrator Rory Kinnear really brought him to life, to the point where I would actually hate to hear the real Anthony Horowitz speak as it would ruin my illusions! This was definitely one of the best audio book narration I have heard for a very long time and I would highly recommend listening to this if you like audiobooks.
Hawthorne, the private investigator, comes to Horowitz to ask him to write a book (preferred by Hawthorne to be called Hawthorne Investigates!!) about a murder that has taken place. They then work together like a modern day Sherlock Holmes and Watson to solve the crime presented. There are clues along the way that I have to admit I failed to notice but I was so completely involved with the storyline that I was just enjoying the ride too much to even think about solving the crime itself!
The characterisation kept me focused throughout the plot as the wonderfully intriguing and enigmatic Hawthorne managed to both wind up and impress Horowitz in equal measures. His way of using his powers of perception to get a rise out of his unlikely partner-in-crime-solving was very funny to listen to. In fact, there was far more humour in the book than I was expecting, and some of it very dark indeed. The comment about the Stieg Larsson book by the side of the dead woman’s bed, actually had me laughing aloud to myself in the car at a moment where there should have been a quiet respect for the murder victim! And I loved listening to Horowitz being “Sherlocked” by his new partner!
I’m so glad this is going to be part of a new series because I can’t wait to meet Hawthorne again. For a man of hidden depths, he certainly managed to keep many of those layers under wraps for us to uncover next time! This ingenious crime drama was polished and gripping with a dark sense of humour that worked perfectly within the characterisation and the plot. The factual information threaded throughout the fictional story was fascinating and intrinsically linked to the plotline, raising the standard of what could have been just a solid piece of crime fiction to a very high level indeed. I was surprised by how much I thoroughly enjoyed this and was very sad to leave it by the time the last CD came to an end.
Highly recommended by me in any format but the audio CD version really did work well for me.
Having been pressurised into writing about the case by ex-detective Daniel Hawthorne - an oddball character a bit like Adrian Monk from the US TV series 'Monk' (ie darting off all over the place and never explaining himself) - who has you reaching for the headache pills by Chapter 3: why employ a writer to document a murder you are investigating but keep them in the dark about what's going on? The line between fact (Horowitz writing for Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson) and fiction (the murder) becomes really blurred and I found myself having to go back and re-read many pages in order to keep up with what was the 'unravelling of the murder' story and the Anthony Horowitz 'real-life' narrative (very weird) but even so, it's not hard to work out 'whodunit'.
As another reviewer says, some readers are not going to like this book AT ALL. That would be me. Yes, it's well plotted and brilliantly written as is most everything produced by Mr Horowitz but it would have been much, much better if he had taken himself out of the equation and written a first-class 'whodunit' of which he's more than capable having done an utterly brilliant Sherlock Holmes re-boot with the sensational 'House of Silk', but this book will leave some readers disappointed, some puzzled, some closing the book in wonderment and some wishing they hadn't bought it. It appears that there are more of this genre to come, but I won't be back for No. 2, sorry.