Looking for something to read I finally (!) opted for this one – a new mystery novel by the guy who wrote “Magpie Murders” which I thoroughly enjoyed.
And like Magpie Murders, it’s really quite clever in its own way. A guy named Horowitz (yes) who is a writer by trade (yup) plays side-kick to a detective named Hawthorne who is technically no longer employed by the London police department. He’s a bit weird, has a few problems, but he’s an excellent detective. Hawthorne asks Horowitz to write a book about him and his cases – focusing on the current investigation.
The Word is Murder
by Anthony Horowitz
2018 / 400 pages
read by Roy Kinnear – 9h 2m
rating: A / literary mystery
Anyway, a woman named Diana Cowper makes arrangements for her own funeral and then, later that same day, she is murdered in her own home.
It’s at this point Hawthorne is contacted by the police and who later connects with Horowitz who is a prior working acquaintance, but not a terribly friendly one, But, Horowitz needs the work and he’s curious.
The tale is told with Horowitz, a writer, as first person who is between assignments. He’s rather put off by Hawthorne’s abrupt and aggressive manner but he goes along. Hawthorne wants a book written about him and this case – and he wants full credit, etc.
Meanwhile, the pair find out that Cowper was a well-to-do widow, an occasional patron of the arts, and had an only child, a son, who was gaining some measure of fame in the movie business.
But ten years prior, Cowper was involved in an auto accident which left one child dead and another with permanent handicaps. She was exonerated by the court and the children’s parents were angry – unable to cope on several levels. So they’re prime suspects and I’ll not go further with the plot – it’s pretty good.
One thing which makes this a rather literary mystery is the obvious Sherlock Holmes connection – Hawthorne is a mysterious character and Horowitz an able Watson with a bit more action. But the connection is never carried too far.
On the down side, there is a bit too much unnecessary material for my personal tastes and it interferes with the tension – a bit like Benjamin Black. But who knows – maybe there are literary underpinnings to it.