BRITISH CRIME FICTION IS HARD TO BEAT

Magpie Murders
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2017
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Hardcover Edition: 236 pages
Source: Library copy

This author is also the television screenwriter for Midsomer Murders and the award-winning Foyle’s War, perhaps my all time favorite TV series from Britain. So it should be no surprise that this mystery is first-rate, a joy to read. Horowitz tells us why we like mysteries on p. 183. “Whodunnits are all about truth: nothing more, nothing less. In a world full of uncertainties, is it not inherently satisfying to come to the last page with every I dotted and every t crossed? We are surrounded by tensions and ambiguities, which we spend half our life trying to resolve, and we’ll probably be on our own deathbed when we reach that moment when everything makes sense. Just about every whodunit provides that pleasure.”

This mystery pays homage to Agatha Christie. The opening is riveting in spite of the fact it is set in a quiet English Village and the characters are all quite ordinary. Horowitz is a master at character as he has shown in his TV writing. This mystery is also a mystery within a mystery. Sounds complicated but it is remarkably easy to follow.

So many good books this year! I feel like I’m always anointing one and then another as the best book I’ve read this year. This one is clearly in the running. When I began I did not realize I was so familiar with some of Horowitz’s TV writing. When I did make that obvious connection, I wasn’t surprised I so much enjoyed this read! It looks like a thick book, but the story moves quickly with the last quarter perhaps a bit slower. Most likely I was afraid I would miss some important clue.

Highly recommended!

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