The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

wordisWhat an interesting and curious story this is.  I couldn’t help thinking when I first picked this up that Horowitz took a real risk here in writing a story in which he himself narrates but I’m pleased to say that the risk paid off and was in fact a clever ploy – I found myself becoming totally sucked in and really enjoying this.   A whodunnit with a difference.

At the start of the story we learn of Diana Cowper who within hours of visiting a funeral parlour to arrange her own funeral is found dead in her apartment.  The police commission one of their own PIs (Hawthorn) who specialises in unusual cases and he in turn approaches Horrowitz to write a story based simply on the facts of the case.  It’s a very unusual way of coming up with a story but I have to admit, after my initial reluctance I became completely absorbed in this untraditional style whodunit and I think that Horrowitz makes a great Watson to Hawthorn’s Holmes.

This is such an unusual way of telling the story because it mixes all sorts of truths in with the fiction which perhaps seems a puzzling way of writing a story and yet at the same time adds a level of realism that made me at times wonder if these events did actually take place.  I suppose if you think of the Holmes stories, they’re narrated by Watson who gives his version of accounts and this is a very similar way of telling the story.  We don’t always see what Hawthorn is up to and although there are clues throughout the book Horrowitz, like Watson, quite often misinterprets them – which again is such an unusual twist to the story because he’s the writer – so he knows what’s happening after all.  This is a total head warp to be honest but for me it worked.

I won’t go into the plot.  There are twists and turns aplenty.  Red herrings and clues dot the pages and undoubtedly some readers may pick things up quicker than I did as we follow the breadcrumb trail but I was caught up in the events and anxious to turn the pages.

In terms of the characters, well, Horrowitz plays himself, obviously!  It’s an interesting element to the book in which we watch his internal struggles to remain with a story that appears to be running out of his control, to deal with a character that he actually doesn’t really like as the story starts and the concerns he has about whether anybody would even pick up this book and read it – it all feels like extra layers that all add their own individual elements.  Then we have Hawthorn.  He’s this secretive, blunt, not always terribly nice character who seems to be riddled with prejudices that simmer just beneath the surface.  Did I like him?  Well, at the start he’s definitely a cold fish but he reluctantly becomes more human as the plot progresses and eventually gives up some of his secrets.  I love his clinical methods of deduction that are, again, Holmes-like.  He just comes out with random statements and seems to have this pleasure in listening to Horrowitz trying to figure out how he reached such conclusions.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this – I rather hope, in fact, that Horrowitz decides to continue with more stories from H&H  – I think they made a great team and I could imagine this being a series that wins a good following.  A modern day Holmes and Watson, an intriguing story and a tale of observation.  I would certainly read more.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy through Netgalley.  The above is my own opinion.

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Waiting on Wednesday : The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz


“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz:

theword.jpgA wealthy woman strangled six hours after she’s arranged her own funeral.

A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own.

A reluctant author drawn into a story he can’t control.

What do they have in common?

Unexpected death, an unsolved mystery and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of Anthony Horowitz’s page-turning new thriller. 

SPREAD THE WORD. THE WORD IS MURDER.

Due out August 2017

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

Just finished reading The House of Silk by Anthony Horrowitz and what a real pleasure it was to be once more in the company of Holmes and Watson.  Anthony Horrowitz has found a way to conjure up a new story (one that Watson had relegated to sit dormant, buried in a dusty cellar, as the years ticked by but has now finally been revealed).   The story is of course told by Watson (and I think AH does a great job of capturing the right tone) and involves two different criminal elements that have a loose connection.  The main theme is the House of Silk and due to a couple of events that take place during the story Holme’s makes it his personal mission to bring the perpetrators of the crimes to account, no matter what danger may be involved.

I think AH has managed to do an excellent job of telling this story in a fashion that manages to conjure up the style of Arthur Conan Doyle.  It’s not identical by any means, there are slight differences in the dialogue, I never completely got a sense of the old Holmes in terms of the passion and theatrical displays that he was so fond of, I think a few of the phrases used were probably more modern and also I think the ‘type’ of narrative tackled would not have been one that you would have ever read about when ACD wrote his originals.   There is also a certain element of charm missing but I can’t quite put my finger on why – maybe it’s just in that this novel feels a little bit more modern and so misses some of the olde world character of past novels or maybe it’s because it feels a little tentative – almost as though the novel is saying ‘hey, I’m trying to be a new Sherlock Holmes story – will I do?’ But, that being said, none of these (relatively small) criticisms detracted from the enjoyment I felt reading this book.  It was great and I got a real buzz from it!

I can’t really elaborate on the plot in this review because that would completely ruin the story and I don’t want to give away any spoilers so if you like Holmes and Watson and fancy spending a bit of time in their company again then what you waiting for?

So, we have a number of old and familiar characters showing up on the stage.  We see Sherlock once again wield is uncanny intellect whilst Watson bumbles along being totally flummoxed by it all in his wake and we get a good old fashioned dramatic ending full of tension and danger and revolver wielding arch criminals.  I mean, really, what more can you ask?

I really did enjoy this and I would love for AH to continue and give us some more stories.  After all I feel that you can’t have too much Holmes and Watson.

Rating A

The House of Silk

The House of Silk