“As far as I’m concerned, you can’t beat a good whodunnit: the twists and turns, the clues and the red herrings, and then, finally, the satisfaction of having everything explained to you in a way that makes you kick yourself because you hadn’t seen it from the start.” page 4
This is the quintessential quote about whodunnits and it expresses exactly how I feel. They’re not just about reading; they’re a game, a puzzle, an experience. My adoration of whodunnits directed me to this novel because it promises, not one, but two whodunnits in a single book. What could be better than that! There has been a lot of buzz around this novel and it even made the list as one of Oprah’s favourites of the year. That said, I typically don’t write about such “High profile” books, mostly because there are about a gazillion reviews out there already – do we really need another? No, yet here I go.
I’ll start by saying that I’ve never read an ANTHONY HOROWITZ book in my life until now, but I am still a big fan of his. But, how can that be? Well, this talented man has written and/or created some of my favourite tv shows of all time. He wrote many of the scripts for the first year of “Poirot”, “Midsomer Murders” and “Foyles War.” I am a Canadian but I subscribe to a special channel so I can receive these programs. And isn’t it nice to watch a show where every single character does not look like a Barbie or a Ken Doll – yeah I’m talking about you American tv. When you read this book you will notice that these shows are mentioned often. The title of the book (within the book) is MAGPIE MURDERS but the publisher complains that it sounds too much like MIDSOMER MURDERS. The novel even contains guest stars (yeah guest stars just like tv) with Agatha Christie’s grandson making an appearance in a couple of the chapters.
The novel begins with Susan Ryeland, the editor of a small but successful publishing house, getting cozy with the intention of reading the first transcript of a novel from her most successful writer. Then we are introduced to the novel – Magpie Murders – and the reader is transported to an English Village circa 1955, and an eccentric detective named Atticus Pünd. This is classic English village mystery literature. Just as the detective is about to gather his suspects and announce the murderer – the novel ends because the last chapters are missing. And…the second mystery begins.
This is certainly an homage to Dame Christie and the other writers of the golden age of mysteries. A modern whodunnit in the old style – you know – no tracking people with cell phones or catching the murderer on cctv. All the clues are there so just get comfortable and enjoy the experience- it really is a fun book.
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, 2016, HarperCollins Publishers, 236 pages