The Word is Murder, a review by Joanna

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The Word is Murder

Anthony Horowitz

Audible Audiobook

9hrs 2 minutes

Published 2017


This is the first instalment of the Hawthorne & Horowitz Investigate series, which has the author putting himself into a fictional murder mystery story – an unusual but fun take on the genre. I bought the audiobook, since my husband and I both enjoyed the Magpie Murders books by this author, and ended up very much enjoying it.


Anthony Horowitz is a busy man – between writing his Alex Rider series, Sherlock Holmes novel, and various TV commitments, so when an obnoxious former detective with the Metropolitan police asks him to collaborate on a True Crime book, it’s a firm No. Then he learns more about the case – a middle aged woman, the mother of a famous actor, found strangled the very day she visited a funeral parlour to plan her own service – and is compelled to take on the challenge. Working with Hawthorne is hard – he’s rude, deceitful and intensely private, but the more they find out about the victim’s past, the more determined they are to solve the crime, no matter what.
I liked the originality of the approach here, even if it meant never being quite sure which aspects of Horowitz’s life are real and which are made up. As with the Magpie Murders, where the heroine is an editor, this was full of in the know references and bookish observations about the literary world and the publishing industry, which I found most entertaining. The mystery is cleverly concocted – the clues are all there, so once you get to the big reveal, it’s completely obvious – but I didn’t see it coming at all. The narrator was excellent, handling both male and female character voices perfectly. Happily there are three more books in this series so I look forward to more of their adventures.

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