The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz, original (c)2017, this edition Harper Perennial (c)2019 trade paperback, mystery novel, 390 pages

The Blurb:
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

My Take:
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.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Fiction, Mystery. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

  1. Steve A Oerkfitz says:

    I like this series better than the other one he has going now.

  2. tracybham says:

    This is an excellent review. I read this book a little over a year ago and had pretty much the same reaction you had, hesitant at first to have Horowitz as a character in the book, but grew used to it eventually. I kept wondering how much about the character was also true for the author. And I did enjoy reading it. I haven’t read the second one yet, but I have a copy and I will someday.

  3. 1412064gk says:

    Anthony Horowitz isn’t quite in the league of productivity that James Patterson is but he sure pumps out a lot of books. I have a dozen Anthony Horowitz mysteries on my shelf. Like Tracy, I’ll get to them someday.

    • I’ve read three or four of his Alex Ryder novels (from the library), which are YA, and the Susan Ryeland novel Magpie Murders which I liked a lot, and have the second one, Moonflower Murders on the shelf. I really liked House of Silk, his Holmes pastiche.

      Horowitz is a much better writer than is Patterson, currently, with all the co-authors the latter uses.

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    It’s probably just me – in fact, I’m pretty sure it must be – but I have had no luck reading Horowitz. I’ve tried two or three of his books but haven’t been able to get involved with any of them, plus they always seem way too long to hold my interest or attention. I always think it is something I should like but so far, no luck.

    So far, I’ll stick to his television work – Poirot, Midsomer Murders, and especially Foyle’s War.

    • Naturally, not every writer is going to please every reader, but I’ve enjoyed Horowitz. See my comment to George, above. You’re right his screen work, really good. We watched a two-part Midsomer last night.

  5. Jerry House says:

    Outside of his television work, I have not gotten into his books. Too many other books taking priority, although Kitty did love THE MAGPIE MURDERS. I may someday dip into the ALEX RIDER television series.

  6. Pam Webb says:

    Having relished Horowitz’s fine writing in both Foyle’s The bio-fiction is a bit disconcerting. Not thrilled how Hawthorne runs all over the place with profanity and prejudice. Is this Hawthorne or Horowitz speaking through Hawthorne?

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