Murder Most Horowitz: The Word is Murder | 2018
The Sum of It:
Whatever murder mystery stories Anthony Horowitz cares to write, I am 100% here to read them. And very probably enjoy myself immensely. The Word is Murder is no exception. This tale enticingly begins with the fairly mundane Mrs. Diana Cowper walking calmly into a London funeral parlor and asking to make arrangements for her own eventual demise. However, surely Mrs. Cowper did not anticipate her death would come so very soon after - in fact only hours later! A very curious case indeed, decides retired detective Daniel Hawthorne, who takes it upon himself to investigate Mrs. Cowper's death. But Hawthorne needs a sidekick, and this is where Anthony Horowitz himself comes in as Hawthorne enlists him to act as a Watson to his Holmes and document the Mysterious Death of Diana Cowper in an eventual book #metamuch?
Horowitz initially deems himself too busy for such a task (there is quite a tangent with Peter Jackson and Tintin movies), but in the end is too intrigued to decline. And so the pair dives down the tantalizing rabbit hole that is Mrs. Cowper's life, discovering terrible secrets from her past that may have been haunting her, and meeting potentially shady characters from her present who may have been trying to swindle her. But before long, Team Hawthorne and Horowitz realize all the clues they needed to solve this mysterious case had been in front of their eyes the entire time.
The B & C Treatment:
I have been a Horowitz fan for a long time - he's responsible for many of the Hercule Poirot television adaptations I adore, the terrific Foyle's War series (both of which get some shout outs in The Word is Murder), and several other wonderful novels, most recently The Magpie Murders. What I appreciate most about Horowitz is his ability to so utterly entice his reader (or viewer) in the puzzle he has created. He crafts just good, old-fashioned mysteries and, in my personal experience twice now, books you will not be able to put down. Beyond his ability to craft a plot, Horowitz has a witty, captivating, and yet easy to read voice to his novels, and this style has a real chance to shine through his narration of The Word is Murder.
As to the plot itself, we avoid spoilers here so I shan't give anything away, but note that, in my opinion, the mystery wrapped up squarely, and I was very proud of myself for (due to my many years of Agatha Christie reading) guessing the solution right before the denouement!
I shall wrap up my ravings thusly: if you're looking for a smartly written book you won't want to stop reading, with a mystery that's elusive, but not impossible, I heartily recommend curling up with The Word is Murder this summer!
You may like The Word is Murder if you like:
- Classic crime fiction from the likes of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and GK Chesterton.
- Books about odd couple teams, a la Sherlock Holmes & Watson, Poirot & Hastings, and Jeeves and Wooster.