The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz, original (c)2017, this edition Harper Perennial (c)2019 trade paperback, mystery novel, 390 pages
The Word is Murder is a 2017 mystery novel by British author Anthony Horowitz and the first novel in the Hawthorne and Horowitz series. The story focuses on solving the murder of a woman who was involved in a hit-and-run accident ten years previously.
As in the books written by American crime fiction writers Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee, as by and featuring Ellery Queen, a mystery writer in New York City who helps his police inspector father solve baffling murders, this book features the author as a lead character. This is the first in the series.
Anthony, the narrator (who is for all intents and purposes the author), is approached by ex-Detective Inspector Hawthorne, with whom he worked on a television series. Hawthorne, who is in need of money, proposes that Anthony write a book about him and one of the cases he is working on in exchange for a 50/50 split of the advance and royalties. The case involves a woman who, six hours after planning her own funeral, is found murdered. Initially reluctant, Anthony agrees and proceeds to document Hawthorne’s solution of the case
I’ve liked pretty much everything I’ve read by Anthony Horowitz, and so bought this when it became available in paperback, and have since bought the 2nd book in the series, which I’ll read soon.
I was hesitant about the author as a character at first, but grew comfortable with the concept as I read. The interrelationship between the two main characters is the focus of the book as much as solving the case of the woman murdered on the same day she plans her funeral. As is often the case, the solution to the case is in the past, and it had me fooled most of the way through. This novel felt like a one-off to me, but apparently was successful enough to have become a series with three books so far. I enjoyed this one.