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The Word Is Murder

(Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  42,081 ratings  ·  4,960 reviews
She planned her own funeral. But did she arrange her own murder?

One bright spring morning in London, Diana Cowper – the wealthy mother of a famous actor - enters a funeral parlor. She is there to plan her own service.

Six hours later she is found dead, strangled with a curtain cord in her own home.

Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric inv
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Harper (first published August 24th 2017)
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Julia You are absolutely right. The accident happened in June 2001, but Damien's last play at RADA, Hamlet, was in 1999. He talked about the accident before…moreYou are absolutely right. The accident happened in June 2001, but Damien's last play at RADA, Hamlet, was in 1999. He talked about the accident before the play. The chronology is wrong.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Rachel I suspect this question was written by Hawthorne's wife, actually . . .…moreI suspect this question was written by Hawthorne's wife, actually . . .(less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz is a 2017 Harper publication.

A clever, droll, and highly entertaining murder mystery!

Former Detective Inspector Hawthorne has approached Anthony Horowitz- yes, the real author is a character in the story- to write a book about him. Although dubious, Horowitz agrees to do so. The pair wind up teaming up together, Holmes and Watson style, to solve a puzzling murder mystery.

Diana Cowper plans her own funeral and later that same day she is found strangled to
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2018, audio

Ok, so I knew the premise of this book. Author inserts himself into the story. But how it would be handled was the big question. Well, let me tell you. Horowitz is bloody brilliant! I loved how this is some crazy mix of mystery, memoir, essay on how to write, how a tv show is created, all rolled into one.

And his ability to paint a character! He had me truly wondering who was real and who was imagined. That’s how vivid his portrayals are.

Horowitz was authorized by the Conan Doyle family to writ
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4.5 innovative and page-turning stars to The Word is Murder! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟.5 (rounded up)

My first book from Horowitz was an indulgent and clever mystery I tried my hardest to solve!

A woman has already planned her own funeral, but when she is found dead six hours after she finalizes the arrangements, it has the police wondering if she planned her own death, too?

An extremely private, private detective, Daniel Hawthorne, is skilled at solving crimes by blowing up secrets and has a wealth of secrets of
Holly  B
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Who plans their own funeral 6 hours before their murder?

I loved playing detective alongside Ex-DI Hawthorne and trying to make sense of the growing trail of leads.  What was the motive?  Did the victim know she was in danger? What is going on? Who left an important clue ? Did I catch that clue? Nope

Horowitz plants himself in the story as well. He is a fictional character working with the detective as a writer to document the case as a true crime novel.

This was pretty entertaining an
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions... - Hamlet

Yes, now I know I like this writer. The writer also of Magpie Murders, which is widely read across Goodreads. This, again, is a great crime mystery, with antiheroes Daniel Hawthorne, a recalcitrant detective, and his sidekick Anthony (would that be Anthony Horowitz himself.....).
What I understand is that this is the first of a series of crime novels starring these two gentlemen. And I'm already looking forward to the ne
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel is weird, wacky, and on the wild side of wonderful. The author, Anthony Horowitz, did not only write this book, he is in this book. In fact, he is writing the book more or less as it is happening. I think.

All those W’s in my first sentence aside, this is not a funny book – although there is humour in it at times. What it is: deviously clever and fiendishly brilliant. There are accidental deaths, murders, and a great deal of confusion because there are so many linked parts in the c
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

"Death for me had always been little more than a necessity, something that moved the plot on. But standing in the bedroom of a woman who had so recently died, I could feel it right there beside me."

When author Anthony Horowitz is asked to write a book about a former detective inspector now turned private investigator, he quickly learns that solving a crime is much different when you find yourself smack dab in the middle of it. Investigator Daniel Hawthorne approaches the renowned writer
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bayb-2018

3.5 stars

This book is structured like a 'Sherlock Holmes' story in which Dr. Watson accompanies Sherlock Holmes on an investigation, then chronicles the case.

In "The Word is Murder" Anthony Horowitz (ostensibly) accompanies detective Daniel Hawthorne on an investigation, then writes a book (this one) about the case.


As the novel opens, wealthy middle-aged Londoner Diana Cowper goes to an undertaker to plan her funeral, so - when the time comes - it will go off exactly as she wants.....with
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
4.5 stars. What an original and clever mystery! Diana Cowper, the widowed mother of a famous actor, pre-plans her funeral, unaware that she would be needing their services in just a few short hours when she is brutally murdered. Hawthorne is an ex-cop working as a private investigator who is brought on board to investigate the crime.

This is, in many ways, a classic whodunit Agatha Christie style murder mystery, which happens to be a favorite genre of mine. What makes this book different and uni
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4.5 stars!

Clever! Brilliant! I don’t think I will ever write a review for this author’s work without those two words included.

Anthony Horowitz has such a unique way of narrating his novels. This one is done in first person, with Horowitz himself as the main character – ingenious! This is marketed as “a masterful and tricky mystery” which sums it up perfectly!

This novel revolves around a tragic and shocking murder that happens six hours after the victim plans her own funeral. Ex-detective, Dani
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I finished this a while ago, but I have been avoiding commenting on it until now. For me, I thought this was going to be a slam dunk, a book I was practically sure of enjoying, after all, I had loved reading some of Horowitz's other books so much. Then there is the fact that so many of my goodreads friends had loved it so much. Normally when a book refuses to connect with me early on, I stop reading, but I persevered thinking at some point it would work out. Sadly not to be, I couldn't get into ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having greatly enjoyed, “Magpie Murders,” I was thrilled to receive, “The Word is Murder,” to review. Author Anthony Horowitz has shown that he is adept at writing many different genres of books, but it is clear that he was certainly meant to be writing anything but this particular novel. For, you see, Mr Horowitz himself is very much the narrator of this novel and he tells the story as it happens; which is a clever literary device and throws the reader immediately into the action.

In his varied
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
One thing you can say about horowitz, he certainly likes to base his mysteries around a Catchy Idea. In this book, he's written himself into the story, biographical details and all, but because I'm not a horowitz Fan, versed in his history and genre, I found it more distracting than intriguing. It left me wondering how much was fact, how much fiction, how much autobiography and how much artistic license. Perhaps this is part of his intention; an odd genre mash-up of mystery, memoir, fiction, and ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I hope “The Word is Murder” was as much fun for Anthony Horowitz to write as it was to read. I was not familiar with Horowitz until I read “Magpie Murders” last year and was totally captivated by his reinvention of an Agatha Christie style mystery. In the ”The Word is Murder,” Horowitz reimagines a Holmes and Watson mystery, with a fictionalized version of Horowitz as Watson. I’ve read novels where authors inserted themselves as characters in their books, but the manner in which Horowitz does so ...more
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
And the words certainly take on a life or death of their own in The Word Is Murder.

Anthony Horowitz moves over ever so slightly and allows his readers to have a front row center seat in the unfolding of this quick-witted mystery. We readers sidle up alongside Anthony as he meets up with Ex-Detective Daniel Hawthorne. (Emphasis on the "Ex", folks) Hawthorne elbows his way into convincing Horowitz (the real real author) to write about Hawthorne's current investigation. Horowitz drags his feet, but
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Horowitz writes rather unusual books due I guess to his other career as a script writer. In 'The Word is Murder' he includes himself in his own fiction, sometimes standing aside to report on events and at other times being part of the story. It works well.

Apart from Horowitz himself the main character is an ex detective who is called in to help when a murder is too difficult for the police to solve. He is a bit of a Sherlock Holmes character in that he reads tiny clues and draws huge conclusions
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cleverly meta and cool! Horowitz writes himself into his own novel which is the cleverly meta part. It’s cool because he references his career as the creator of Foyle’s War, the original adapter of Midsomer Murders and as the author of the teen series, Alex Rider. This mystery is deceptive, devious and revels in devilish games. The author had to have had a ball when writing this. It’s as entertaining as all get out.
Jessica Woodbury
Usually when I realize I am not liking a book much I will stop reading it. And I almost stopped reading this one. I can tell you the exact page I was on when I had that NOPE moment. At that point I pulled up the Goodreads page and I was, well, flummoxed. This book's page is stacked with glowing reviews. And I knew from the success of MAGPIE MURDERS that this one will be popular, so I decided to keep going to see if the book would redeem itself. It did not. So I am here to potentially save a few ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a clever and enjoyable mystery! It was exactly what I was in the mood for, an engaging, character-driven story. The mystery itself wasn't too complicated and though I guessed at the resolution, it didn't bother me at all. Looking forward to the next book in the series!

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Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fun book to read. I love his writing style and he's so clever. I think he may be my new favorite writer. I'll have to read more of his books to make sure. ...more
Liz Barnsley
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Word is Murder is eccentric and totally brilliant – like reading an Agatha Christie novel if Agatha Christie placed herself at the centre of the action and engaged with Sherlock Holmes. It is a long term reader’s dream novel almost quite literally. In this case Mr Horowitz does just that, telling his own (?!?) story, getting sucked into a murder mystery of the classic locked room type with a modern twist and keeping us all guessing all the way through.

Quirky and extraordinarily readable, The
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bravo! The Word is Murder has many of the tropes of mystery fiction, including a brilliant, but acerbic detective, and his dim-witted partner, but manages to mix them together with details of the author's real life and work, so it was hard to tell what was made up and what was real. Horowitz, is the none too bright writer who becomes the Watson for ex-detective Hawthorne's Sherlock Holmes. Again and again the author pokes fun at the image of the mystery writer who actually couldn't solve a crime ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a mystery with a bit of humor
Recommended to Sara by: Candi
I hit a strange kind of reading impasse the last few days. I have tons of books around me and one that I have already started but just could not concentrate on. I kept reading a paragraph and then wondering what the hell I had read. Dying of boredom, I took a break to check my notifications on GR and what did I find but a super review by my friend, Candi, of Anthony Horowitz's novel, The Word is Murder. I found myself wishing I were reading that. So, I checked with Overdrive and to my surprise m ...more
Rating 4.5

Loved it! I was a fan of Magpie Murders, really enjoyed it. I couldn't wait to get to another Anthony Horowitz book. I grabbed it without even reading the blurb, which is very, very rare. But I knew I would probably be in for a fun ride. And naturally, he didn't disappoint.

The Word is Murder (brilliant title) tells the story of the murder of Diana Cowper, happening just after she visits a funeral parlor to make all her own funeral arrangements. Bring in a brash, ex-police detective, an
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
4.5 extremely clever stars

You can see my reviews at https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

This was my very first foray into the writings of Mr Horowitz. It will not be my last as its clever writing, easy style and the ability to draw one into the story line is quite alluring. Most alluring is the fact that the author himself is one of the main protagonists. and his being so made this book just plain fun. True, it was a murder and mayhem mystery, but the telling of this tale with Mr Horowitz be
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't always enjoy books written in the first person, but this was a lot of fun as Horowitz inserts himself into the story as a main character and narrator.

Diana Cowper, in her sixties and mother of a famous actor, makes a visit to a London funeral parlour and several hours later is found dead in her living room. Coincidence..... or not?

Ex DI Daniel Hawthorne, sometime consultant to the London police thinks not. In fact he thinks the case is going to be special enough that he needs a writer t
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-arcs
This was such a highly original and clever read, I honestly can’t recall a book that I’ve read that even comes close to it, it blurs the lines between fact and fiction in the coolest way. Horowitz is actually a character himself in the story and solely narrates things, it was a straightforward, good old fashioned murder mystery and it was executed flawlessly while also implementing a fresh, unusual tactic that I enjoyed immensely.

Horowitz teams up with an ex police officer named Hawthorne after
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Did you know that Anthony Horowitz worked on Tintin? Read this book and you'll never forget. ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2017
A quirk too far...

One spring morning, Diana Cowper, a healthy woman in her sixties, calls into a local undertaker's and arranges her own funeral. Nothing too uncommon about this, especially since she is a widow and her only son has moved to the States to pursue his successful acting career. But it takes on a very different aspect when, later that same day, she is strangled to death in her own home. Disgraced ex-policeman Daniel Hawthorne is called in by his old boss to investigate the crime on a
4.5 stars

Quite early into this novel, I thought to myself "oh, this is so clever!"

Believe it or not, this was my first time reading Horowitz. I was surprised to discover that he was British, I've always assumed he was American. I own his Magpie Murders, but haven't read it yet, despite having seen the raving reviews.

I haven't read anything quite like The Word is Murder before. Horowitz is inserting himself into the narrative in a very original way. While I haven't yet Googled him, it all felt r
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Anthony Horowitz, OBE is ranked alongside Enid Blyton and Mark A. Cooper as "The most original and best spy-kids authors of the century." (New York Times). Anthony has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he is also the writer and creator of award winning detective series Foyle’s War, and more recent ...more

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Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery (3 books)
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