A woman walks into a funeral directors to arrange her funeral.
Six hours later she is dead.
A private detective, Daniel Hawthorne has been called in by the police to help with this case. A consulting detective like Holmes or Poirot but with a character and manner all of his own. So gruff and strange I could not be anything but fascinated by him. Hawthorne is private in many ways, we know little about him and whilst he was once a police inspector, it takes us a while to find out what happened.
The narrator of this story, is drawn into Hawthorne’s world.
The narrator is in fact an author, who has used Hawthorne before to help in his research in previous novels and television adaptations. Here you can quite easily think Watson to Holmes, Hastings to Poirot. Except this author, this narrator, we all know.
It is in fact Anthony Horowitz.
All of a sudden, The Word is Murder becomes part autobiography, part fiction and part fact and it was actually fascinating to learn all about Horowitz’s world as an author and script writer, to the idiosyncrasies of the publishing and television world. A parody but actually not – more a reality, a truth.
But just like us as readers, Horowitz is drawn to Hawthorne and the murder of the woman hours after arranging her funeral. He is reluctant to become involved but something draws him back to Hawthorne, because it is not just the murder to unpick Horowitz needs to understand the detective as well. Without that surely he will never have a book.
This is an interesting book, where you have to remind yourself when you are reading, what bit could be true and what part was the fiction of the story being weaved by Horowitz as he helped Hawthorne (not a real person) complete his investigation.
I chose not to go into much detail about the murder in this review, mainly because I am always too frightened of giving some obvious clue and rendering anyone else reading the book as a pointless exercise.
A cleverly crafted novel which will appeal to fans of murder mysteries. I would not put it down as a thriller but it is certainly a page turner. Very different to Magpie Murders published last year but both of these books have the potential to be developed further.
Thank you to the publisher through netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
The Word is Murder is out now.