Top positive review
The whodunnit to end all whodunnits?
6 April 2017
Joy Swift, inventor of murder mystery weekends, once wrote a plot in which you began to suspect that the actors playing the suspects were embroiled in their own murder mystery, quite separate from the one that they were acting out. So it is here. In what might be the ultimate whodunit, Anthony Horowitz, who himself was the first to adapt Midsomer Murders for television, alongside his many, many other achievements in the genre (bringing back Sherlock Holmes, writing some of the best Poirot episodes, creating Foyle's War etc etc) has given us a detective story that is postmodern, metatextual and all those other words you weren't expecting to hear when discussing the genre.
To tell you anything at all is probably giving away too much but I think it's fair to say that it's one mystery within another - the manuscript of a detective story that marks the final appearance of supersleuth Atticus Pund in a classic fifties plot is really just the beginning. The novel conceals another mystery completely.
The writing is perfect. Although this is the first anyone has heard of Atticus Pund, you don't have to be too far in before your mind is kidding itself that you've read all the (non existent) previous adventures of a detective as prolific as Miss Marple or Father Brown. He is a very sympathetic sleuth and - in one of many marvellous in-jokes and references to Agatha Christie, Midsomer Murders etc - lives in Charterhouse Square, which is where they film Poirot's 'Whitehaven Mansions' home in the TV series. As for his author and those who publish his novels...
No, I've said too much already. If you love this sort of thing, you'll be in Heaven from the moment you pick it up.