cover image The Word Is Murder

The Word Is Murder

Anthony Horowitz. Harper, $27.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-267678-8

This spectacular series launch from bestseller Horowitz (Magpie Murders), a scrupulously fair whodunit, features a fictionalized version of himself. The author’s doppelgänger—who, like his creator, has written a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, The House of Silk, and a Tintin movie script for Steven Spielberg—is approached by Daniel Hawthorne, a former detective inspector who once consulted on one of his TV series. Hawthorne wants Horowitz to turn his “real-life” cases into books, and eventually gets him to agree. Their first joint investigative venture concerns the strangulation of Diana Cowper in her London home, mere hours after she visited a funeral parlor and made detailed arrangements for her own funeral. (In one amusing metafictional scene, Hawthorne criticizes Horowitz for inaccuracies in chapter one, an omniscient third-person account of the funeral home visit.) An interrupted text Diana sent to her son shortly before her death leads the duo to look into a long-ago hit-and-run tragedy that claimed one twin child’s life and seriously injured the other. 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. Agent: Jonathan Lloyd, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (June)