Anthony Horowitz, April 2018, 400 pages, Arrow, ISBN: 1784757233
Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)
I read this book for review purposes but now that I've finished it it is very difficult to describe it as it is unlike anything that I've read ever before. The author, Anthony Horowitz, is famous for writing the 'Alex Rider' books and also for the marvellous scripts and executive production of the highly recommended Foyle's War TV series, but writing a one-off murder mystery, that masquerades as a non-fiction, true story is a very different kettle of fish.
The plot is extremely unusual: an extremely wealthy woman arranges her own funeral and then some hours later, she is murdered! Did she know she was destined to die? Who killed her and why? An unemployed former detective decides to investigate her death and as he is short of money he decides to write a book about the investigation and asks the author Anthony Horowitz to do the actual writing as he has successfully written books before. The former detective, who is named Hawthorne, and Horowitz frequently argue over the investigation, but when they aren't talking about the enquiry into the woman's death and the possible perpetrators, Horowitz talks about his own writing career and his success with the Foyle's War and 'Alex Rider' books. As this book is told in the first person from the point of view of Anthony Horowitz I found this extensive discussion of the writing experience very interesting.
The actual details of the murder mystery were a bit light but what we got instead was the Anthony Horowitz writing experience which I found very entertaining but this may not be what other readers may want and I appreciate this. Perhaps a more usual plot structure with more details of the crime and investigation and then a satisfactory conclusion would be preferred, rather than these perhaps irrelevant descriptions of the author's previous books.
On the whole I was very impressed with the book because it was so unusual with this mixture of the fiction of the plot and Anthony Horowitz's real writing career. I enjoy writers talking about themselves and the problems they have, as well as reading good crime fiction and I therefore recommend this book.
Terry Halligan, July 2018.