Book Review

The Word is Murder – Anthony Horowitz

“I want to be buried in a cardboard coffin”

Diana Cowper enters a funeral parlour to plan her funeral. Six hours later she is found dead.

This story follows Daniel Hawthorne, an investigator who hires author, Anthony Horowitz to follow him throughout the investigation and document the events of the unusual case.

When I first saw that Horowitz had placed himself into the book, admittedly I cringed. Usually I dislike when authors do this because it feels very self-indulgent however, as it happens I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anthony Horowitz does a great job here of weaving both fact and fiction. Whenever the author mentioned Alex Rider I lit up, it was a favourite series of mine growing up, and reading him talk about the writing process was fascinating.

Hawthorne’s character is one I go back and forth. I can’t say I particularly liked him however, I didn’t dislike him either. He’s clearly intelligent and good at his job. There is a Sherlock / Watson, Castle / Beck dynamic and it’s so well done.

This story has two different directions but, what’s interesting, is that you have all the clues in pretty much the first chapter. He always refers back to that first chapter. You pick up on a lot of the clues, there and throughout the story, but fitting them all together is the task at hand. Each storyline is valid and helps to create the picture, and when each thread is tied the revelation is all the sweeter because Horowitz doesn’t hand you the answer on a plate within the first hundred pages. He keeps you guessing. The things you place weight on as important are merely interesting additions, and the pieces you set aside as interesting, but ultimately irrelevant, make all the difference.

As an additional note, I want to say how nice it is to read something written by Anthony Horowitz again. I read his Alex Rider and Power of Five series growing up and adored them. Seeing his transition from children’s fiction to adult is interesting and wonderful. He has remained one of my all-time favourite authors and I can’t wait to see what comes next. 

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