THE WORD IS MURDER – Anthony Horowitz


Despite the fact I’m not a huge fan of thrillers, Anthony Horowitz had me hooked. His story of the murder cunningly constructed – BTW, all I can say is without writing a Spoiler: there’s an enormous red herring, a whale sized red herring, at the heart of the murder story. More than that I must not say. If you’re looking for a challenging murder puzzle, look no further.

Leaving the crime aside, I enjoyed the semi-autobiographical perspective of the novel. What do I mean? Horowitz has chosen to use a First Person narrator i.e. himself. He explains how he is hired by the enigmatic detective, Hawthorne, to write a book based on the crim Hawthorne is investigating. Despite his misgivings, because Hawthorne is a difficult man, Horowitz agrees.

So he tells the story in a very personal way, giving us his reactions to unfolding events, as he follows Hawthorne around London hunting down leads and clues. Interspersed with the events, are Horowitz’s thoughts, plans, misgivings about the book he is supposed to be writing; he worries whether he has made the correct choice in taking on the job. He gives us fascinating insider anecdotes on his past writing career, notably as writer for the BBC series Foyle’s War.

I loved the episode where Horowitz is in a face to face meeting with Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings Fame) and Steven Spielberg ( major movie fame!) and Hawthorne barges in, disrupts the meeting ( and, incidentally, Horowtiz’s prospective future career as a writer for Spielberg!) and manipulates the writer into leaving immediately with him.

The tone of the narrative is personal, confidential and flattering because we’re privy to a very successful writer’s angst about his writing and his career. Let it be noted that Anthony Horowitz is highly successful  – so I think his angst may have been misplaced.

To me the book read as a blend of fiction (the crime) and fact ( Horowitz the writer) so perhaps I should label it as ‘faction’. Whatever we choose to call it, it was a terrific read and I can highly recommend it.


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