Magpie Murders: Book summary and reviews of Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Magpie Murders

by Anthony Horowitz

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz X
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
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  • Published Jun 2017
    464 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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About this book

Book Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author of Moriarty and Trigger Mortis, this fiendishly brilliant, riveting thriller weaves a classic whodunit worthy of Agatha Christie into a chilling, ingeniously original modern-day mystery.

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she's intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan's traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

Conway's latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she's convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

Masterful, clever, and relentlessly suspenseful, Magpie Murders is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction in which the reader becomes the detective.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A treat for fans of golden age mysteries… [A] tour de force … Horowitz throws in several wicked twists… Highly satisfying." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. 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

"Starred Review. Both stories might stand alone, but combined, they result in a delightful puzzle. Fans of Agatha Christie and the BBC's Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War (both written by Horowitz) will relish this double mystery." - Library Journal

"While the first story is more enjoyable than the second, which drags a little, this is overall a very entertaining set of tales, and readers will enjoy finding clues in the whodunit that will help solve the mystery in the latter tale." - Booklist

"An ingenious novel-within-a-novel... part crime novel, part pastiche, this magnificent piece of crime fiction plays with the genre while also taking it seriously."- The Sunday Times (UK)

"There's much to enjoy in Anthony Horowitz's spry, sardonic Magpie Murders." - The Guardian (UK)

"Superbly written, with great suspects, a perfect period feel, and a cracking reveal at the end." - The Spectator (UK)

"Anthony Horowitz has devised a fiendish mystery within a mystery that will have you hooked from page one. We loved this Agatha Christie-esque crime novel." - Good Housekeeping (UK)

"A stylish, multi-layered thriller - playful, ingenious and wonderfully entertaining." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

"This can only be described as incredibly clever - but what else would you expect from Horowitz?" - The Herald (UK)

"A compendium of dark delights ... A brilliant pastiche of the English village mystery and a hugely enjoyable tale of avarice and skullduggery in the world of publishing." - Irish Times

"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

This information about Magpie Murders was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Bev C

Magpie Murders
This is about the final manuscript of a bestselling crime writer, Alan Conway.

At Cloverleafbooks, his editor Susan Ryeland receives his final Atticus Pund mystery for review.
However, the manuscript is missing the last chapters and the crime writer has been found dead.
Why did Conway commit suicide?
Why is the manuscript incomplete?
Is there is a story hidden within the story in the manuscript?

5? British mystery
I found its intricacies intriguing.

Highly recommended

Bev

Magpie Murders
This is about the final manuscript of a bestselling crime writer, Alan Conway.
At Cloverleaf books, his editor Susan Ryeland receives, for review, his final Atticus Pund mystery.

However, the manuscript is missing the last chapters and the crime writer has been found dead. Why did Conway commit suicide? Why is the manuscript incomplete? Is there is a story hidden within the story in the manuscript?

I found its intricacies intriguing.

Highly recommended

techeditor

Really Clever
What a clever book this is! Really, Magpie Murders is two books, a book within a book. And both books are Magpie Murders.

The narrator of Anthony Horowitz's Magpie Murders, Susan Ryeland, describes her experience with the book within the book, Magpie Murders, written by the fictitious author Alan Conway. Ryeland is an editor for the publisher of Conway's books. Magpie Murders is the ninth in his series of who-done-its, and, although Ryeland dislikes Conway, she likes his who-done-its.

Now we read what Ryeland reads, the Magpie Murders written by Conway. It feels like reading an Agatha Christie novel. If you own the Magpie Murders written by Horowitz, I suggest you do so with a highlighter nearby so you can mark the first occurrence of characters' names. There are so many! I needed to do that so I could leaf back to remind myself who characters were. And, speaking of names, I will never be able to read a book again without wondering whether the names of its characters have some significance. You will understand what I mean later.

Before the murders are solved in the copy of Magpie Murders that Ryeland is editing, the story ends. It is missing chapters, and Ryeland is determined to find them. But she can't just ask Conway for them. Her firm's biggest money maker, Alan Conway, is dead. It looks like he jumped from a tower, committed suicide. But, during Ryeland's search for the missing chapters, which takes her to various areas in England, she decides that he didn't jump but was pushed.

So Ryeland not only needs to find the missing chapters so that the murders in Conway's Magpie Murders are solved; she also feels she needs to solve Conway's murder.

Every bit of this book, of both books, really, is clever. I'm so anxious to see what PBS does with it in 2022.

Becky H

Bring back Atticus!
This book within a book was frustrating at times. It was difficult to know who was the narrator and which “book” you were in. There is a difference of font, but it is a slight variation and easily missed. Susan is a bit too “talky.” I wanted her to just get on with it instead of rehashing all of the clues and suspects. I thought the Atticus book was by far the better plotted and told of the two tales. It just took forever to get to the finish line.
Andreas seemed to be thrown in just so he could be around to “finish the plot.” Susan didn’t miss him at all when he was gone for 6 weeks. The end, therefore, seemed too pat a finish.
The depiction of the English village and the various inhabitants was spot on. I didn’t agree with some of the characterizations of other detectives. I rather like Father Brown and don’t find Miss Marple brusque at all.
So….. Magpie Murders by Alan Conway is well written and tightly plotted. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz is too long and too fussy. Bring back Conway and Pünd!

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Author Information

Anthony Horowitz Author Biography

Anthony Horowitz is one of the most prolific and successful writers working in the UK – and is unique for working across so many media. Anthony is a born polymath; juggling writing books, TV series, films, plays and journalism.

Anthony has written over 40 books including the bestselling teen spy series Alex Rider, which he adapted into a movie that was released worldwide in 2006. The Alex Rider series is estimated to have sold 19 million copies worldwide. His highly anticipated novel, Oblivion, the epic conclusion to the Power of Five series, was published in October 2012. Anthony is also an acclaimed writer for adults and was commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate and Orion Books to write two new Sherlock Holmes novels. The House of Silk was published in November 2011 and was ...

... Full Biography
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