Contemporary · Mystery

Magpie Murders (Susan Ryeland #1) by Anthony Horowitz

I’m ashamed to say that this is the first novel of Anthony Horowitz I’ve read so far, but I’m also glad I picked this one to begin. This a complex novel with two murders taking place bot in the real world and the fictional one. Masterfully done.

Susan Ryeland is the editor and copywriter of the famous mystery author Alan Conway, writer of the Atticus series. Susan settles down to read the latest manuscript of the series, which takes place in the 50s. Atticus is a German refugee and occasional police consultant in a number of murder cases. In the beginning of the story, Atticus finds out that he’s dying of cancer and that he has very few time left. Together with his assistant James Fraser, he’s called in to help Inspector Raymond Chubb in Saxby, Avon to investigate two suspicious murders: a cleaning lady called Mary Blakiston, and Sir Magnus, owner of Pye Hall. But before she can reach the end of the story, Susan realises that the three final chapters are missing. But before she can do anything about it, Alan Conway is found dead, apparent suicide. Susan, convinced it was murder. begins to investigate Alan’s life, talking to friends and members of his family only to see a growing list of suspects. But if Alan was murdered, there might be a killer on the lose who doesn’t want secrets and information to see the light of day, and they might just stop at nothing to keep that from happening.

In the conclusion of the book, we see the resolution of the murders coming in the most perfect and satisfying way.

I binge-read this book. The two mysteries made it impossible to put down, curiosity fueling my need to finish. The similarities between the fiction story and the real-life mystery are deeply connected, it’s like a conductor red herring in the midst of all the others. It makes it easy to follow, to identify the characters and be aware of all the details necessary to under the characters and both plots. I absolutely loved this novel and the tone Horowitz took with it.

A mesmerising classic and yet contemporary murder mystery that will have you at the edge of your seat with curiosity and a pure “need to know” feeling.

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