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Magpie Murders: A Novel Paperback – March 27, 2018
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“Each of the narratives in Magpie Murders is engaging and fluid, each with its own charm, though Horowitz’s joyful act of Christie ventriloquism is, in particular, spectacularly impressive.” (Washington Post)
“Anthony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders is catnip for classic mystery lovers… With its elegant yet playful plotting, Magpie Murders is the thinking mystery fan’s ideal summer thriller.” (Time Magazine)
“An ingenious funhouse mirror of a novel sets a vintage ‘cozy’ mystery inside a modern frame.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Brilliant. Really, really brilliant. I loved it.” (Sophie Hannah, author of The Monogram Murders)
“An extravagant circus of a novel, part high-wire act, part funhouse mirror. Intricate, bold, stone-cold clever— both comfortably old-fashioned and thrillingly new.” (A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window)
“Doubly Devilish.” (People)
“Horowitz..has devised an ingenious whodunit within a whodunit, a metamystery with Agatha Christie roots.” (O, the Oprah Magazine)
“A treat for fans of golden age mysteries…. [A] tour de force …. Horowitz throws in several wicked twists…. Highly satisfying.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Magpie Murders is an ingenious, twisting tribute to the sleepy English countryside murder and will thoroughly entertain readers of old fashioned detective thrillers.” (New York Journal of Books)
“Fans who still mourn the passing of Agatha Christie…will welcome this wildly inventive homage…as the most fiendishly clever puzzle—make that two puzzles—of the year.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred))
From the Back Cover
From the Globe and Mail–bestselling author of Moriarty, this “spectacularly impressive” (Washington Post) and riveting thriller weaves a classic whodunit worthy of Agatha Christie into a chilling, ingeniously original modern-day mystery.
Editor Susan Ryeland has worked with bestselling crime writer Alan Conway for years, so she has no reason to think his latest novel will be much different from his others. Readers love his detective, Atticus Pünd, a celebrated solver of crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s.
But Conway’s latest tale of murder at Pye Hall is not quite what it seems. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but hidden in the pages of the manuscript lies another story: a tale written between the very words on the page, telling of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition and murder.
Masterful, clever and relentlessly suspenseful, Magpie Murders is a “doubly devilish” (People) take on vintage English crime fiction, in which the reader becomes the detective.
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We have an old-fashioned, well-written who-done-it manuscript dropped off by a famous writer, only the last chapters are missing. So then we need to find out what happened to the chapters and solve the mystery in the book, but while doing that the main character becomes convinced that the author was murdered.
I thought both mysteries were well-thought out and very clever. I'm not sure why some reviewers disliked it--I thought it was a great read.
"Magpie Murders" is set in both current-day and 1955 London, as well as a small town near Bath. Two murders occur in the small town and famous detective Atticus Pund becomes involved in figuring out the case. He comes to the village and begins his investigation. THIS is the plot in a book written by author Alan Conway. The book is the ninth in the "Pund" series and Susan Ryeland, Conway's editor at his London publisher, Cloverleaf Books. The reader begins the journey into the Russian dolls by reading Alan Conway's novel. But the ending of the book is literally missing and when Ryeland tries to piece together the novel, the other dolls begin to show themselves. Anthony Horowitz writes ALL his voices with a firm, yet clever hand. For some reason, the reader keeps the places, plot points, and characters separate, even as the book turns into another book, and turns yet again. Horowitz has the last word in his novel.
I've read very few novels as cleverly plotted as this one. It's a delightful book and I can heartily recommend it.
Horowitz has proven that he can combine a storyline combining wit, drama, folly, and levity all in one period piece of meta-fiction. Most of it surrounds a writer of a successful detective series, with blockbuster fame, named Alan Conway. His editor, Susan Ryeland, has sat down to read his latest manuscript with Detective Atticus Pund, a German who came to England some time around WW II. It is the 1950s in the Cotswold’s, and I felt a familiarity of characters—a vicar, a doctor, a taciturn handyman, a wealthy community leader, and others that dot the countryside and provide color and character. And, of course, there are secrets, some venial, and others more venal. A death has occurred and concluded an accident…but was it?
During the reading of the novel, Susan inserts bits of information about Alan Conway—she doesn’t like him, and that the book has changed her life. She tells us that she is no longer working for Cloverleaf publishers, where she spent a majority of her professional life. A mystery to add to the mystery of the book. She also shares excerpts of her private life and her beau, a wealthy Greek who travels a lot. She reads on, until we get to a startling reveal, which I do not want to spoil. At that point, it becomes a story within a story, and I was impressed at the seamless dexterity in which Horowitz pulls this off.
Without revealing anything juicy, I just want to add that the story is rich with its impeccable architecture and structure, and the labyrinth path and rabbit holes, as well as the leisurely but commanding pacing of this novel. The author leaves no stone unturned and no reader turned off. The net is wide for the cast of suspects and potential who, what, and why of reality and fantasy. It’s a bold and ambitious undertaking that is fully realized and deliciously satisfying. It will keep you relentlessly guessing as you turn the pages, suspicious of everyone, trusting of no one. Dive in to a bit of vintage murder and mayhem.