Diana Cowper, a healthy woman in her sixties, spent the afternoon at Cornwallis and Sons Funeral Parlor arranging her funeral. Six hours later she wasDiana Cowper, a healthy woman in her sixties, spent the afternoon at Cornwallis and Sons Funeral Parlor arranging her funeral. Six hours later she was murdered in her home.
A few days later international bestselling author Anthony Horowitz is approached by ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne, formerly of the Metropolitan Police. He worked with Horowitz before as a consultant for Injustice, a legal drama Horowitz worked on several years ago. Though he was fired from the Met, Hawthorne is often hired back as an unofficial consultant to solve cases others can’t. They give him a daily rate plus expenses, but Hawthorne is a bit strapped for cash (“There just aren’t enough people getting murdered.”) and wants Horowitz to write a book about him. He proposes that Horowitz follow him around on his current case – the Cowper murder – and write the book, and they’ll split the profit fifty-fifty. Though reluctant at first – he really doesn’t like Hawthorne – Horowitz eventually agrees.
As Horowitz follows Hawthorne around the reader becomes familiar with the murder case and the suspects but Hawthorne himself, the supposed focus of the novel Horowitz will be writing, remains inscrutable. The reader – and the author – know little of Hawthorne’s life, his history, or even his reasoning for the direction he takes the investigation. The reader must rely instead on Horowitz’s account. Fortunately, Horowitz is observant, records conversations, and takes detailed notes. Buried in these notes, in all of the information relayed through interviews and research, is the identity of Diana Cowper’s murderer. Who will realize it first, Hawthorne or Horowitz…or the murderer?
In Magpie Murders Horowitz played with the framework of the mystery story, writing a novel within a novel. In The Word is Murder he goes even further and muddles the line between fiction and nonfiction, weaving factual information about his life and career into the investigation he and (mostly) Hawthorne conduct. The character development is also unusual. Hawthorne is a private, secreted individual, which frustrates Horowitz and makes it difficult for the reader to get a handle on him. He’s fleshed out almost against his will. Horowitz is our narrator but somehow still manages to be unobtrusive in the story, putting the focus on Hawthorne and the investigation. The murder victim and the people Hawthorne interviews are secondary characters, interesting and realistic, but somehow part of the background.
The plot of The Word is Murder is more cerebral than action oriented, and the blur of fiction and reality is somewhat mind bending. It took me a few chapters to fully immerse myself in the story. Once I stopped trying to decipher what I thought was true versus what the author likely made up, I enjoyed the story much more.
The Word is Murder is a very different detective novel. Readers who enjoy murder mysteries and detective stories will likely gobble it up. It will help if to be somewhat familiar with Anthony Horowitz, but it isn’t necessary for overall enjoyment of the book. ...more
Scandal has pushed Felicity Faircloth out of society's limelight, but her family still has hopes that her past might be inconsequential to someone asScandal has pushed Felicity Faircloth out of society's limelight, but her family still has hopes that her past might be inconsequential to someone as reputedly mad as the Duke of Marwick. Their attempt to put Felicity in Marwick's path also puts her in the sights of the Bareknuckle Bastards, two men from London's seedier side who are determined that the Marwick line will die with the current Duke. Felicity becomes an unknowing pawn in their plots, and her heart just might be the first casualty.
I thoroughly loved this novel and had trouble putting it down. The characters are lively and interesting, the story is unique and original, and the ending left me wanting more. I cannot recommend it enough!...more