The Word Is Murder

The Word Is Murder

Book - 2018
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When a wealthy woman is found murdered after planning her own funeral service, disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, investigate.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062676788
0062676784
Characteristics: 390 pages ; 24 cm

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r
Russ_A
Nov 26, 2018

This novel gets a point for originality in format if not in plot. It’s written in the first person, which by itself isn’t original, but the trick here is that the author is writing as himself, the real Anthony Horowitz, the writer of Foyle’s War and many successful books. It is populated with various real people he may have encountered in real life like Steven Spielberg, especially people in British television. In the end, though, that’s just a gimmick. The plot is a pretty traditional mystery. The author keeps telling the reader that he just left some clues here and there, but there are more red herrings than useful clues.

The mystery fails from what I call the Agatha Christie Syndrome. You may like Agatha Christie. I don’t. Her books, like this one, are filled with clues, but the way the detective interprets them and successfully solves the case is either ridiculous or depends on information not available to the reader. Thus it is not a fair mystery, i.e. one the reader can solve. In this case the author solves it at the very end by virtue of recognizing somebody, someone not identified to the reader until that point. The author then goes on to describe previous clues that supposedly point to that person, but the reality is that they all could just as easily have been totally random, not related to the mystery at all. Many of them are farfetched and contrived. There were so many red herrings that he could have decided in the last chapter to make the killer someone else that all those clues pointed to.

Much of the book seemed like a cross between an ego trip and a puff piece for his other works, which I found quite irritating. The author does write well, at least, and I found it more interesting than another mystery I started on, so it was not a total loss. It was devoid of objectionable material, which is worth something.

IndyPL_SteveB Nov 19, 2018

A clever murder mystery which features an author who gets involved in a murder mystery. In this case, the author is… Anthony Horowitz -- or some fictional version of him. The mother of a famous actor makes arrangements for her own funeral and a few hours later is strangled in her home. Daniel Hawthorne, a former police detective, is hired by the police to be a consultant on the case. He has been a police expert consulting on some of Horowitz’s television scripts, so he makes a deal with Horowitz to write a book on the case. Hawthorne wants Horowitz to be his Watson, in a sense, to show off his brilliance. Horowitz reluctantly agrees because the murder case fascinates him; but Hawthorne is both a brilliant and singularly unpleasant man. As the case becomes more and more tangled, the relationship between the author and the detective becomes frayed. The murder mystery itself is a nice tangle with lots of suspects; but what makes the story hard to put down is the humor as we watch the two main characters argue and frustrate each other.

w
wardlind
Nov 10, 2018

I really enjoyed this mystery. But then I usually like first person narratives and Horowitz is an excellent writer. The premise gripped me from the very beginning -- a woman walks into a funeral home and orders her own funeral and is murdered 6 hours later! It gets better from there. Disgraced Scotland Yard detective Hawthorne is very far from a sympathetic character and read a lot like Sherlock Holme (another very far from sympathetic character). Would definitely recommend.

a
augsburgerin
Oct 29, 2018

Having loved Foyle's War I really want to like Anthony Horowitz's novels but I was getting so annoyed at his character in this mystery and since the other main character was even less likable, I gave up on the book.

a
ALB126
Sep 27, 2018

The mystery was intriguing, but the continual banter and bickering between the detective and the narrator was too much. Too much name dropping of plays, TV dramas, and movies. The writing style, with the author being the main character, was tedious. I expected more from the author of Foyle's War. Initially, I was thinking this book rated 'poor' but the underling plot was good enough to upgrade it to 'not bad'.

vm510 Sep 10, 2018

An interesting mystery but I wish the main characters were more relatable and charming. I didn't care to read about these two new Sherlock & Holmes characters as much as I enjoyed the cast of characters in Magpie Murders.

w
WoodneathAngie
Sep 04, 2018

If you like your mysteries with a slight side of meta, Anthony Horowitz's latest two stand-alone mysteries are a real treat. The Word is Murder is narrated by Horowitz himself, or a fictional counterpart, as a prickly detective hires Horowitz to write about him. Horowitz is intrigued by the detective's latest case--a woman goes into a funeral home to plan her funeral and winds up dead the same day. The mystery itself is filled with twists and layers, and the set-up of Horowitz as narrator adds a fun layer throughout.

b
brangwinn
Aug 22, 2018

Horowitz always writes a good mystery, and placing himself front and center in this book makes it even more interesting, His sidekick, a dour former British police detective adds to the story.

h
htliang
Aug 19, 2018

This interesting murder mystery mixes both fact and fiction. Anthony Horowitz is hired by ex-detective and police consultant, Daniel Hawthorne, to co-investigate the strange murder of a woman on the very day that she arranged her own funeral.
If you are a fan of Anthony Horowitz (Fowles War, Midsomer Murders, Magpie Murders, House of Silk, Alex Rider series, etc.) then you'll enjoy the focus on Horowitz and his descriptions of how he develops his characters and plots. The murder mystery itself I'd just give 3/5 stars.

w
workhorse6491
Aug 15, 2018

An unusual premise: the author as character, but the momentum of the story makes you stick with it... and then the ending... sort of the-butler-did-it. Did laugh a bit. Well worth your time zipping through it. One reviewer said not for "cozy readers"; not sure what that means, but I would probably urge cozy readers to try it.. not over the top in murder and mayhem and the unique viewpoint is worth trying it on "for size".

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rapunzel454
Aug 12, 2018

rapunzel454 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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