Summary and book reviews of The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

The Word Is Murder

by Anthony Horowitz

The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz X
The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
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  • Published:
    Jun 2018, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Meara Conner

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About this Book

Book Summary

Anthony Horowitz has yet again brilliantly reinvented the classic crime novel, this time writing a fictional version of himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes.

One bright spring morning in London, Diana Cowper – the wealthy mother of a famous actor - enters a funeral parlor. She is there to plan her own service.

Six hours later she is found dead, strangled with a curtain cord in her own home.

Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric investigator who's as quick with an insult as he is to crack a case. Hawthorne needs a ghost writer to document his life; a Watson to his Holmes. He chooses Anthony Horowitz.

Drawn in against his will, Horowitz soon finds himself a the center of a story he cannot control. Hawthorne is brusque, temperamental and annoying but even so his latest case with its many twists and turns proves irresistible. The writer and the detective form an unusual partnership. At the same time, it soon becomes clear that Hawthorne is hiding some dark secrets of his own.

A masterful and tricky mystery that springs many surprises, The Word is Murder is Anthony Horowitz at his very best.

One
Funeral Plans

Just after eleven o'clock on a bright spring morning, the sort of day when the sunshine is almost white and promises a warmth that it doesn't quite deliver, Diana Cowper crossed the Fulham Road and went into a funeral parlour.

She was a short, very business- like woman: there was a sense of determination in her eyes, her sharply cut hair, the very way she walked. If you saw her coming, your first instinct would be to step aside and let her pass. And yet there was nothing unkind about her. She was in her sixties with a pleasant, round face. She was expensively dressed, her pale raincoat hanging open to reveal a pink jersey and grey skirt. She wore a heavy bead-and-stone necklace which might or might not have been expensive and a number of diamond rings that most certainly were. There were plenty of women like her in the streets of Fulham and South Kensington. She might have been on her way to lunch or to an art gallery.

The funeral parlour was called ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The Word is Murder primarily stands out from the mystery genre crowd because of its ingenious meta style. Horowitz writes as if the events of the novel actually occurred, with some chapters even being written as if they were part of the later-published true-crime book about the Cowper murder. This risky set-up entirely pays off largely due to Horowitz's skillful interweaving of fact and fiction.   (Reviewed by Meara Conner).

Full Review Members Only (693 words).

Media Reviews

Metro London (UK)
Horowitz is undeniably brilliant

The Financial Times (UK)
…the beguiling whodunit plot is dispatched with characteristic élan as Horowitz blurs the line between fiction and reality… there is no denying the sheer ingenuity of the central notion.

The Guardian (UK) Books of the Year
Raises the game-playing to Olympic level.

Real Crime Magazine (UK)
The Word Is Murder is an intriguing labyrinth of whodunnits and a true page-turner throughout.

Library Journal
A classic whodunit with a metatwist, this mystery opens the door to the world of publishing, theater, and television. Fans of Dorothy Sayers and the BBC's Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War (both written by Horowitz) will enjoy this novel.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Deduction and wit are well-balanced, and fans of Peter Lovesey and other modern channelers of the spirit of the golden age of detection will clamor for more.

Booklist
Starred Review. Actually, the word is not murder, it's ingenious....a masterful meta-mystery.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Sharp-witted readers who think they've solved the puzzle early on can rest assured that they've opened only one of many dazzling Christmas packages Horowitz has left beautifully wrapped under the tree.

Reader Reviews

Vivian Harrington

Horowitz Cleverly Inserts Himself
I've just completed The Word Is Murder and vacillated between 4 stars and 5 stars because the book is better than Good but does not rise to astonishingly excellent to the level of The Magpie Murders. But The Word Is Murder is a Very Good read. I did...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Anthony Horowitz: Creating Across Medias

Anthony Horowitz has had a prolific career writing across multiple media including books, TV, film and stage plays. Since publishing his first novel in 1979, he has written over forty books for both adults and children, his screen credits include episodes of six TV series including Poirot and Midsomer Murders and creator and writer for six more including Foyle's War. His play, Mindgame, based on his book of the same name, opened in London's West End in 2000 and has also been performed Off-Broadway. If you're interested in more Horowitz, here are some of my favorites:

Eagle StrikeThe Alex Rider series
Initially published in 2000 with the first novel, Stormbreaker, Horowitz's most well-known work is undoubtedly his children's series, Alex...

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