I was putting together a book display a while back and realized we have a pretty large collection of murder mysteries that feature authors, booksellers, editors and librarians. Also cats. A lot of them have cats on the cover, which I take to be a sign that it’s sort of a cozy book, much like the shirtless, buffed guy might signal a romance. Maybe I’m reading that part all wrong. I’m wrong about a lot of things these days. You’ll know what I mean if you live with a teenager.
Anyway, apparently readers, writers, and publishers can all imagine pretty easily how violent death might waltz into their lives. And if you’re going to grab a writer to stick right in the middle of it, I’d choose Anthony Horowitz just about any day. In addition to writing the Alex Rider teen series, he wrote Foyle’s War, one of my favorite TV mystery series ever. He’s also written a Sherlock Holmes mystery and The Magpie Murders, which is very Agatha-esque and delightful.
And now this one. Agatha Christie would be writing this book if she were alive now and Anthony Horowitz hadn’t beat her to it. It’s such a great mixture of red herrings, unhappy people, social commentary, lies, deception, acting and more. More interesting stuff.
Anthony Horowitz as the character of the author is just about as perfectly snobby, anxious, smart, and reckless as you’d expect any of us armchair detectives to be. His detective is also flawed and difficult and, like some book characters, frustratingly uncaring about details we as readers think matter. This is the kind of manipulation that’s so masterfully done that you have to appreciate it.
I’d still like to have more of Foyle, but really, maybe, it’s just more of Anthony Horowitz’s storytelling I’d enjoy.
The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
This book was released in 2017 outside the U.S.; the American edition was released June 5, 2018.