The Word is Murder
A 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.

The Word is Murder Details

TitleThe Word is Murder
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 24th, 2017
PublisherCentury
ISBN-139781780896847
Rating
GenreMystery, Crime, Fiction, Thriller

The Word is Murder Review

  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Having greatly enjoyed, “Magpie Murders,” I was thrilled to receive, “The Word is Murder,” to review. Author Anthony Horowitz has shown that he is adept at writing many different genres of books, but it is clear that he was certainly meant to be writing anything but this particular novel. For, you see, Mr Horowitz himself is very much the narrator of this novel and he tells the story as it happens; which is a clever literary device and throws the reader immediately into the action.In his varied Having greatly enjoyed, “Magpie Murders,” I was thrilled to receive, “The Word is Murder,” to review. Author Anthony Horowitz has shown that he is adept at writing many different genres of books, but it is clear that he was certainly meant to be writing anything but this particular novel. For, you see, Mr Horowitz himself is very much the narrator of this novel and he tells the story as it happens; which is a clever literary device and throws the reader immediately into the action.In his varied career, we learn that Anthony Horowitz has written many television scripts and one of the advisors he consulted was a former detective inspector with the Met; a murder specialist, since thrown out of the force, named Hawthorne. Hawthorne is something of a throwback, with his shabby suits, secretive air and unpleasant prejudices. However, he also does consulting on unusual cases and he asks the author to accompany him on his most recent investigation and write a book about him.Horowitz should be concentrating on a script he needs to show to Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson (the scene involving these two men is worth reading the book for alone), plus he has other projects clamouring for his attention. Still, he finds himself drawn into the strange murder of Diana Cowper. A widow in her sixties, Diana Cowper planned her own funeral before being murdered only six hours later. Mother to famous actor, Damian Cowper, involved with the theatre herself, wealthy and well connected, it seems too much of a coincidence that she walked into a funeral parlour to discuss her own burial on the day she was killed. Hawthorne and Horowitz immediately begin to investigate her life; including a tragedy she was involved in nearly ten years previously.This is a wonderfully unusual crime novel. Horowitz’s voice is ever present in this book, as he bemoans the fact that Hawthorne is calling all the shots, yet begrudgingly admires the fact that he always seems able to uncover the secrets beneath the facts. There is an intriguing plot, lots of twists, some wonderful characters and Hawthorne himself, who I would love to see in another book. For, although Horowitz spends much of this book worrying about whether anyone will read this, he needn’t have been concerned. If I loved Horowitz’s previous crime novel, I have to say that I adored this. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    The Word is Murder is eccentric and totally brilliant – like reading an Agatha Christie novel if Agatha Christie placed herself at the centre of the action and engaged with Sherlock Holmes. It is a long term reader’s dream novel almost quite literally. In this case Mr Horowitz does just that, telling his own (?!?) story, getting sucked into a murder mystery of the classic locked room type with a modern twist and keeping us all guessing all the way through.Quirky and extraordinarily readable, The The Word is Murder is eccentric and totally brilliant – like reading an Agatha Christie novel if Agatha Christie placed herself at the centre of the action and engaged with Sherlock Holmes. It is a long term reader’s dream novel almost quite literally. In this case Mr Horowitz does just that, telling his own (?!?) story, getting sucked into a murder mystery of the classic locked room type with a modern twist and keeping us all guessing all the way through.Quirky and extraordinarily readable, The Word Is Murder has an ironic, indelible tone that sucks you straight in – alongside little gloriously entertaining commentary on the authors real life, we also have Hawthorne (the Sherlock Holmes of this story) with his throwback personality, his acerbic witty asides and his intelligent mind, alternatively dazzling and frustrating Mr Horowitz as he tries to write a book he has no control over.The mystery itself is gloriously twisty with proper clues and proper red herrings – in a way it feels like a homage to those crime stories of old, but now in a very modern setting – it is endlessly charming and utterly engrossing, I devoured it with all the fervour of the religiously converted.Loved it. Delightful, funny and completely alive on the page The Word Is Murder is a distinctive, unforgettable novel with a huge touch of class.Highly Recommended.
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  • Elaine
    January 1, 1970
    This is a quirky, highly original first person narrative starring the author in an Agatha Christie type role whilst working, somewhat reluctantly, with a Morse/Sherlock Holmes kind of private investigator called Hawthorne! The investigation is into the murder of Diana Cowper which happened just six hours after she’d arranged her own funeral. Hawthorne is an ex-police detective who is called in to assist with some of the more bizarre investigations and he’s also the man who wants Anthony Horowitz This is a quirky, highly original first person narrative starring the author in an Agatha Christie type role whilst working, somewhat reluctantly, with a Morse/Sherlock Holmes kind of private investigator called Hawthorne! The investigation is into the murder of Diana Cowper which happened just six hours after she’d arranged her own funeral. Hawthorne is an ex-police detective who is called in to assist with some of the more bizarre investigations and he’s also the man who wants Anthony Horowitz to shadow him during this investigation to enable him to write about him solving this murder.The whole story is a real page turner, with a splendid mix of murder mystery, suspense and thriller with a large dose of more factual information concerning the author’s work as an author and scriptwriter. I found it a fascinating read with stories within stories like Russian Dolls you reveal as the story progresses. The author portrays his mood and attitude as events unfold as well as sharing many of his accomplishments which serve as background to the main story. His somewhat strained relationship with Hawthorne results in great banter between the two and the author is often portrayed as being inept in the investigation by Hawthorne’s comments and responses. Horowitz is reluctant to work with Hawthorne but is drawn in by the strange circumstances preceding the murder - like the reader, he wants to know what happened, so still keeps working with Hawthorne.This has to be one of the most unique books I’ve read, complete with plenty of angst, twists and turns to keep readers guessing to the very end. The story is an enthralling skilful blend of fact and fiction, mixed together by a highly talented wordsmith to create a superb murder mystery that I have no hesitation whatsoever in highly recommending.I requested and was given a copy of this book via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion after choosing to read it.
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. I had been looking forward to the new novel by Horowitz, with his past three novels, he has firmly established himself as a favourite of mine. So imagine how much my heart sank when I started reading, realising that this was a first person narrative of faux-non-fiction of himself being part of a murder investigation and writing about it. I hate novels where a writer investigates a crime and writes about it. HATE THEM. Alas, I kept reading (I bought it and I gave him the benefit of dou 3.5 stars. I had been looking forward to the new novel by Horowitz, with his past three novels, he has firmly established himself as a favourite of mine. So imagine how much my heart sank when I started reading, realising that this was a first person narrative of faux-non-fiction of himself being part of a murder investigation and writing about it. I hate novels where a writer investigates a crime and writes about it. HATE THEM. Alas, I kept reading (I bought it and I gave him the benefit of doubt) and I was surprised to find that I was entertained and intrigued. The mystery is solid, the delivery is funny and engaging and so it was a really solid mystery. The reason it's not higher is that I find it hard to reconcile a mixture of real and fiction because I had to keep googling as to who was a real person and who was an invention. Still, highly enjoyable.
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  • Sid Nuncius
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed The Word Is Murder, although I did have reservations about it. It has a structure which I would expect to dislike: Anthony Horowitz casts himself in a central role in what purports to be a true-crime story, but is, of course, completely fictional. This leads to a lot of knowing stuff about how he is going to write the book and the whole thing is as much about how he writes his work as it is about the crime story. Horowitz does it very well and, to my surprise, I liked those aspects of I enjoyed The Word Is Murder, although I did have reservations about it. It has a structure which I would expect to dislike: Anthony Horowitz casts himself in a central role in what purports to be a true-crime story, but is, of course, completely fictional. This leads to a lot of knowing stuff about how he is going to write the book and the whole thing is as much about how he writes his work as it is about the crime story. Horowitz does it very well and, to my surprise, I liked those aspects of the narrative.Set in London in 2011, the story is of a woman who walks into an undertaker's office to make arrangements for her own funeral, and is then murdered a few hours later. The case is investigated by the police, of course, but also by Hawthorne, and ex-police officer with whom Horowitz has worked as a consultant on TV screenplays. Hawthorne wants Horowitz to write a book about his investigation, and he eventually agrees to become his amanuensis and sort of assistant. This all works pretty well as a device; it allows Horowitz to have fun introducing aspects of his own life (which may or may not be true, of course) and also allows him to have his cake and eat it rather. There's a good deal of "if I was making this all up, I wouldn't have done it like this" sort of stuff – which again, I was surprised to find I rather liked. (You can tell, by the way, that he has been writing Sherlock Holmes stories, as Hawthorne's methods, if not his character, have a very Holmesian feel.)It's not all great; the ending is pretty silly, to be honest – with the killer explaining everything to the captured investigator whom he intends to kill as a crowing cliché. Also, there are a few characters who are made to resemble real people closely enough to be disconcerting. A vain, manipulative actor called Damian who is about to star in a new series called Homeland? The physical description doesn't fit and he went to the wrong acting school, but… Or a director who "wishes to remain anonymous," about whom Horwitz then gives such full, extraneous detail that she is plainly identifiable as Janet Steel. It's odd, and it's something I didn't like.Nonetheless, this is an enjoyable, readable book. Place and characters are well evoked and I found it a very entertaining read for most of its length. Recommended.(I received an ARC via NetGalley.)
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    A quirk too far...One spring morning, Diana Cowper, a healthy woman in her sixties, calls into a local undertaker's and arranges her own funeral. Nothing too uncommon about this, especially since she is a widow and her only son has moved to the States to pursue his successful acting career. But it takes on a very different aspect when, later that same day, she is strangled to death in her own home. Disgraced ex-policeman Daniel Hawthorne is called in by his old boss to investigate the crime on a A quirk too far...One spring morning, Diana Cowper, a healthy woman in her sixties, calls into a local undertaker's and arranges her own funeral. Nothing too uncommon about this, especially since she is a widow and her only son has moved to the States to pursue his successful acting career. But it takes on a very different aspect when, later that same day, she is strangled to death in her own home. Disgraced ex-policeman Daniel Hawthorne is called in by his old boss to investigate the crime on a consulting basis. Hawthorne thinks it would be a great idea if someone were to write a book showing him in action – and he knows just the man for the job... Horowitz is one of the cleverest plotters out there at the moment and I've loved his last several books. In this one, however, I feel he allows that cleverness to lead him down a route that, for me at least, becomes too quirky to be totally enjoyable. It transpires that the man Hawthorne has in mind to write his book is none other than Horowitz himself. So the fictional mystery quickly gets blended into a lot of, I assume, largely factual stuff about Horowitz's actual writing career. My problem with this is that either his characterisation of himself is heavily fictionalised, in which case, what's the point? Or it's mostly true, in which case, sadly, I found him a rather unlikeable chap with an overhealthy sense of his own worth and importance, who simply loves to name-drop. I spent most of the book trying to convince myself he was attempting to be humorous by deliberately showing himself off as a cultural snob and an aspiring lovey, but if so, it wasn't made clear enough. I tired quickly of the long digressions where he breaks away from the story to discuss the making of Foyle's War, the amazing success of his books, or his meetings with Steven Spielberg and David Jackson to discuss film scripts, even though he occasionally attempts to include a bit of self-deprecatory humour. I've said before that personally I prefer not to know much about authors since knowing about their personalities can get in the way of my appreciation of their books. I therefore avoid literary biographies and autobiographies of all but the long dead, and rarely read author interviews or articles about them for the same reason. So I'm aware that my adverse reaction to this book arises out of that dislike and therefore won't be the same for readers who do like to know about authors' lives – in fact, I'm almost certain they'll find this aspect adds a lot of fun. Otherwise, the plotting is excellent, as is the quality of the writing. The clues are all given, so in that sense it's fairplay, though I think it would take a healthy dose of luck for anyone to get close to the solution – I certainly didn't. The story goes to some dark places but there's a lot of humour so that the overall tone is of a light entertainment. Hawthorne didn't ring true to me at all, nor did the idea that a policeman who had been sacked would be called in on a murder investigation, but I didn't feel Horowitz was really going for realism. To be truthful, I'm not altogether sure what he was going for. He's clearly doing a kind of update of the Holmes/Watson relationship – he gives the impression that he was writing this at the same time as his excellent books set in the Holmesian world, The House of Silk and Moriarty. But, unlike Holmes and Watson, I found neither of these characters particularly admirable or likeable. And an awful lot of the “detection” element simply consists of characters giving great long uninterrupted speeches explaining all the various events in their pasts that have some connection with the present-day crime.Overall, I found it a reasonably enjoyable read but, probably at least in part because of my high expectations, something of a disappointment. I'm sure most Horowitz fans will enjoy it and have already seen several people praise it highly, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it as one for newcomers to his work. And I'm hoping I can get Horowitz the character out of my head before Horowitz the author publishes his next book...NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Random House Cornerstone.www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Visit the locations in the novel The Word is MurderWhat a fascinating book! A story about a well known writer (Mr Horowitz himself) writing how he is approached by an ex detective for a story, and then what happens as the story and research start to reveal itself..I've never read a book that is effectively being written and researched as you read it. A book where a writer has to help solve a crime in order to write his book. And he gets into some situations let me tell you! The story within the Visit the locations in the novel The Word is MurderWhat a fascinating book! A story about a well known writer (Mr Horowitz himself) writing how he is approached by an ex detective for a story, and then what happens as the story and research start to reveal itself..I've never read a book that is effectively being written and researched as you read it. A book where a writer has to help solve a crime in order to write his book. And he gets into some situations let me tell you! The story within the story within the story is a woman who plans her own funeral and then ends up dead some six hours later. That thread was interesting enough but add the other layers and it was just WOW! I just loved the banter between Horowitz and Hawthorne! They did make me chuckle.This was surreal in a lot of ways - what's real, what's not? - but very compelling. I'm going to think about this and then write a longer review. Highly recommended Horowitz!
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  • Quintin Zimmermann
    January 1, 1970
    Anthony Horowitz blends fiction with non-fiction as he inserts himself into his own mystery novel as the first-person narrator. As a real world author, he fuses his real life experiences and interactions with his fictional characters. It is a rather clever device, but Horowitz dismally fails with his own express intentions - "I had to be sure that I wasn't too obtrusive, that I didn't get in the way". Horowitz's continued attempts to upstage his own principal protagonist, the disgraced former de Anthony Horowitz blends fiction with non-fiction as he inserts himself into his own mystery novel as the first-person narrator. As a real world author, he fuses his real life experiences and interactions with his fictional characters. It is a rather clever device, but Horowitz dismally fails with his own express intentions - "I had to be sure that I wasn't too obtrusive, that I didn't get in the way". Horowitz's continued attempts to upstage his own principal protagonist, the disgraced former detective, Hawthorne, came across as facile and churlish. Hawthorne, who is unashamedly a Holmesian clone, is not well supported by his Watson, namely Horowitz, who continously seems to bungle the investigation and place himself in absurd situations. Anthony Horowitz is a talented author and, despite my criticisms, this crime novel is still a page-turner for a younger audience with some twists that I did not see coming. Unfortunately, Horowitz's own intrusions into his narrative wasn't the right foil for his complex detective to truly shine.
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  • Amina
    January 1, 1970
    review to come
  • Naty
    January 1, 1970
    This review was originally posted at https://natysbookshelf.wordpress.com/I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I have been wondering how to review this book since I started reading it and, now that I’m finished, I am still not sure. The first thing to say is that it’s unique, not your typical murder mystery, and it’s strange. I was not sure if I’d liked it until it was over, and I think a better way to describe is that it definitely left an impression on me. It stu This review was originally posted at https://natysbookshelf.wordpress.com/I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I have been wondering how to review this book since I started reading it and, now that I’m finished, I am still not sure. The first thing to say is that it’s unique, not your typical murder mystery, and it’s strange. I was not sure if I’d liked it until it was over, and I think a better way to describe is that it definitely left an impression on me. It stuck in my mind and got me googling all through the story. So: yes, I enjoyed it!I started reading The Word is Murder expecting it to be similar in style to Magpie Murders, which I enjoyed, although I thought the ending rather predictable. But I was wrong – except for being a murder mystery as well, the similarities between the two books stop there. In this very unique and interesting novel, Horowitz blurred the lines between fiction and non-fiction to the point where I had to do some googling to figure out what was true and what wasn’t.The plot is really intriguing: a wealthy middle-aged woman arranges her own funeral and hours later, she is murdered. Who killed her? Did she know she was going to be murdered? If not, was organizing her funeral a coincidence? The unemployed detective Hawthorne is short on money, and when he gets hired to investigate the murder of Mrs. Cowper, he decides to turn it into a book – which is where Horowitz (yes, the author) comes in.But it feels that the murder is only half the story, where the other half is Horowitz’ life & career.Horowitz talks extensively about his writing process and his career, which sometimes I found interesting and sometimes bothersome. It felt like a book about the process of writing this same book and this meta situation was both intriguing and frustrating – I wished at times that there was less Horowitz and more murder mystery. At the same time, I do enjoy getting to know more about writers and their writing process, but I would then rather read an interview and some articles about it. I don’t want it to be half of a murder mystery book. If you’re a long-term fan of Horowitz, I think you might actually enjoy this very much! He talks extensively about his Alex Rider series, about the script-writing for murder mystery TV series and so on. I particularly wasn’t too keen on such a level of detail such as he presented for that.The character construction felt a little flat to me. They all seemed like taken from a Catalog of Whodunit Suspects, and even giving them backstories rather extensively didn’t feel enough to give them actual complexity and personalities. They were all likely to have murdered Mrs. Cowper. I found specially the women from the book quite flat. The detective Hawthorne is written to be unlikable, and then we have Horowitz in a Hastings/Watson position of the less intelligent companion who guides the reader away from the clues and into wrong conclusions (no offence at all for the “less intelligent” part meant, those characters are normally quite intelligent, just not as much as the detective, especially to provide a contrast and admiration for said detective).But never once was I impressed or interested in Hawthorne at all, and both the clues and the process of uncovering the mystery were everywhere, not following the kind of structure I prefer. I like my murder mysteries nice and cleanly presented. This book felt more like a real-case mess, with lots of relevant and irrelevant information. So that is quite the charm of it.Veredict: This book is an intriguing mix of classic whodunit with non-fiction. If you love reading about writers and how they write, you’ll enjoy this one, especially if you’ve been a fan of Horowitz for a while. It’s quite hard to put a line between fiction and non-fiction on this one and it’s what makes it so unique!
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    Whilst reading this I imagined Anthony chuckling away while he wrote it and there were many times when I joined in, laughing out loud at his very funny comments - at times self-deprecating at other times distinctly waspish. For example, visiting the scene of the crime, he observes in the victim’s living room:‘..the thick-pile carpet with its floral pattern etched out in pink and grey...the crystal chandelier, the comfortable faux-antique furniture, the Coutry Life and Vanity Fair magazines sprea Whilst reading this I imagined Anthony chuckling away while he wrote it and there were many times when I joined in, laughing out loud at his very funny comments - at times self-deprecating at other times distinctly waspish. For example, visiting the scene of the crime, he observes in the victim’s living room:‘..the thick-pile carpet with its floral pattern etched out in pink and grey...the crystal chandelier, the comfortable faux-antique furniture, the Coutry Life and Vanity Fair magazines spread out on the coffee table, the books (modern fiction, hardback, nothing by me)...’And in her bedroom:‘Only a week ago, a middle-aged woman would have undressed here, standing in front of the full-length mirror, sliding into the queen-sized bed with the copy of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played With Fire that was lying on the bedside table. Well, at least Mrs Cowper had been spared the slightly disappointing ending.’ Despite his protestation that ‘it worries me to be so very prominent in these pages’, Horowitz writes himself front and central into the book, acting as a sort of Watson to ex-police detective, Hawthorne, a latter day Sherlock Holmes with all the deductive and observational powers of that literary giant and the same peculiarly limited knowledge of other aspects of life. A running joke is that Hawthorne never introduces Horowitz when they visit witnesses or explains why he’s there - and rarely does anyone ask. In one of many playful themes, Horowitz constantly reminds the reader that he would have written the book differently if writing a work of fiction but, of course, since this is true crime, he has to stick to the facts. ‘I looked down and noticed a stain on the carpet, marked by two more police numbers. Her bowels had loosened just before she died, the sort of detal I would normally have spared an ITV audience.’In particular, he’s troubled that he doesn’t know enough about Hawthorne’s back story, personal life and so on to make him an interesting character in the book. After all, Horowitz is the experienced best-selling author and screenwriter, isn’t he? Surely he knows what makes a book work better than anyone? ‘If I had sat down to write an original murder mystery story, I wouldn’t have chosen anyone like Hawthorne as its main protagonist.’But Hawthorne insists what readers are really interested in isn’t the detective but the crime – ‘The word is murder. That’s what matters.’ (Oh look what he did there, that’s the book’s title.) In fact, as if trying to push his point to the limit Horowitz goes out of his way to make Hawthorne an unlikeable character, giving him some distinctly unpalatable views.Horowitz revels in his role as unreliable narrator.‘It occurred to me that I could make up my own rules. Who said that I had to write down everything exactly as it happened?'He cheerfully admits that he hasn’t included everything that was in the notes he took of the interviews he and Hawthorne conducted and that much of what he’s included is probably irrelevant. He also makes mischievous claims to have included vital clues in earlier scenes that will have you struggling to resist flipping back pages.At times, I found the references to his other works – books, film & TV scripts – a little too frequent, even if a lot of these were self-deprecating. I sometimes got the sense of being a witness to a huge in-joke. For example, his rant about literary agents directed at what appears to be his actual agent. Having said all this, the book is hugely enjoyable and proof, if it were needed, that Anthony Horowitz is a very clever man. The mystery itself is well-plotted, liberally dosed with red herrings and misdirection worthy of the author’s literary heroine, Agatha Christie. I received an advance reader copy courtesy of NetGalley and publishers, Penguin UK, and chose to give an honest and unbiased review.
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  • Dimitris Passas
    January 1, 1970
    Ο Anthony Horowitz είναι συγγραφέας βιβλίων που μπορούν να κατηγοριοποιηθούν σε πολλαπλά genres (π.χ. παιδικά, crime κ.α.), ενώ έχει υπογράψει αρκετά σενάρια τηλεοπτικών σειρών, όπως είναι το ''Foyle's War'', η τηλεοπτική μεταφορά των βιβλίων της A. Christie με τίτλο ''Poirot'', τα εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέροντα ''Murder in Mind'' και ''Murder Most Horrid'' και πολλά άλλα. Το ''The Word is Murder'' είναι η δεύτερη απόπειρα του Horowitz να πλάσει μια ιστορία δολοφονίας με σασπένς και χωρίς κενά στην πλο Ο Anthony Horowitz είναι συγγραφέας βιβλίων που μπορούν να κατηγοριοποιηθούν σε πολλαπλά genres (π.χ. παιδικά, crime κ.α.), ενώ έχει υπογράψει αρκετά σενάρια τηλεοπτικών σειρών, όπως είναι το ''Foyle's War'', η τηλεοπτική μεταφορά των βιβλίων της A. Christie με τίτλο ''Poirot'', τα εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέροντα ''Murder in Mind'' και ''Murder Most Horrid'' και πολλά άλλα. Το ''The Word is Murder'' είναι η δεύτερη απόπειρα του Horowitz να πλάσει μια ιστορία δολοφονίας με σασπένς και χωρίς κενά στην πλοκή και το καταφέρνει περίφημα. Το βιβλίο μπορεί να ιδωθεί και ως κάποιου είδους απότιση φόρου τιμής στους δύο ''μεγάλους'' του είδους, την A. Christie και τον Α. C. Doyle. Πρωταγωνιστής του βιβλίου είναι ο ίδιος ο συγγραφέας (!), ο οποίος αφηγείται σε πρώτο πρόσωπο μια ιστορία που έχει ως πυρήνα την εξής ιδέα: Μια ηλικιωμένη γυναίκα πηγαίνει σε ένα γραφείο τελετών για να φροντίσει με κάθε λεπτομέρεια την ίδια της την κηδεία. Έξι ώρες αργότερα η ίδια γυναίκα βρίσκεται δολοφονημένη μέσω στραγγαλισμού στο διαμέρισμά της, με τον δολοφόνο να μην έχει αφήσει κανένα ίχνος. Αυτή η κεντρική ιδέα του βιβλίου φέρνει στο νου ανάλογες ιστορίες που έχουμε διαβάσει στην λεγόμενη ''χρυσή εποχή'' του αστυνομικού μυθιστορήματος και πιο συγκεκριμένα αυτές που λαμβάνουν χώρα στην Αγγλία. Ο συγγραφέας-αφηγητής προσεγγίζεται από έναν εκκεντρικό και ιδιαίτερα κυνικό πρώην αστυνομικό επιθεωρητή, ο οποίος ζητά από τον Horowitz να γράψει ένα βιβλίο για το συγκεκριμένο έγκλημα, παρακολουθώντας τον ιδιαίτερο τρόπο ανάλυσης και αστυνομικής δράσης που υιοθετεί ο βετεράνος αστυνόμος, ονόματι Hawthorne. Δεν πρόκειται να αποκαλύψω περισσότερα σχετικά με την πλοκή του βιβλίου, το μόνο που θα πω είναι ότι δεν θα σας αφήσει να το αφήσετε μέχρι να φτάσετε στις τελευταίες σελίδες και τη λύση του μυστηρίου. Ο Ηawthorne με την οξύνοια και την παρατηρητικότητά του θυμίζει έντονα τον Sherlock Holmes, ο οποίος βρίσκεται πάντα ένα βήμα πιο μπροστά από τον Watson, του οποίου τον ρόλο παίζει ο Horowitrz.Συμπερασματικά πρόκειται για ένα από τα καλύτερα και πιο ''φρέσκα'' αστυνομικά μυθιστορήματα που έχουν πέσει στα χέρια μου τον τελευταίο καιρό και μου άνοιξε την όρεξη να διαβάσω και το -προγενέστερο- ''Τhe Magpie Murders'' του ίδιου συγγραφέα. Συστήνεται χωρίς διασταγμό για όλους, ακόμα και αν δεν είναι φαν του αστυνομικού.
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  • Vicky
    January 1, 1970
    Murder mysteries are great. Despite the obviously grisly contents, they're quite sedate reads, quite formulaic: a murder happens, the detective systematically visits the family and friends of the deceased, often with an admiring Watson in tow, and then makes a brilliant deduction and the murder is revealed to be somebody (if it's well-written) you never saw coming. So. Who better to write a murder mystery than the author of about a zillion episodes of Foyle's War, and followed it up with a Sherl Murder mysteries are great. Despite the obviously grisly contents, they're quite sedate reads, quite formulaic: a murder happens, the detective systematically visits the family and friends of the deceased, often with an admiring Watson in tow, and then makes a brilliant deduction and the murder is revealed to be somebody (if it's well-written) you never saw coming. So. Who better to write a murder mystery than the author of about a zillion episodes of Foyle's War, and followed it up with a Sherlock Holmes mystery The House of Silk? Horowitz excels at writing a good mystery, but in this book he goes one step further and inserts himself into the story. In this murder mystery, Horowitz himself is the main character. How meta.This slightly jarring take on the classic novel did throw me off at first. Horowitz packs his story with references to his time writing everything from Foyle's War to Alex Rider, introducing the story to us in a way that at first does seem rather self-indulgent and unnecessary. But then he starts to blend fact with fiction, inserting himself into his own murder mystery, and things get rather more interesting.The story centres around Diana Cowper, the mother of a famous film star who arranges her own funeral then dies the same day- but the meat of the story is centred around Horowitz's relationship with the main detective, Hawthorne. Here, Hawthorne is the Holmesian central character, and Horowitz the slightly bumbling author following him around, trying to make sense of his deductions- and the slightly tongue-in-cheek approach he takes to this as the novel goes on is very dryly funny. Though he's the author, he's also the Watson attempting to make his own deductions as Hawthorne refuses to give anything away.The blend of fact and fiction also gives us a window into the life of a famous author, too: meetings with agents, the writing process, personal life. Horowitz has a very distinctive writing style, and it's fascinating in a fly-on-the-wall way to see the approach he takes to writing, effectively, himself. That's the most interesting part of the novel; the plot itself motors along nicely, unfolding smoothly and with plenty of satisfying red herrings along the way to keep me interested and fooled. Most importantly, I had no idea who the killer was: that's a plus in my book!By the end, I was converted. The Word is Murder is a fresh, funny twist on the classic murder mystery, injceting some of the author's charadcter into his writing and giving us an insight into his mind into the process. For anybody looking for an injection of Horowitz excitement into their reading list, this is for you!
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  • Cheryl M-M
    January 1, 1970
    If you have read the Magpie Murders by Horowitz then this book won’t seem at all bizarre or unusual. He is an author who likes to think outside the box. His plots are wee bit like Conan Doyle does Schrödinger’s Cat in the form of a murder mystery. While I’m on the subject it is worth mentioning that in 2011 the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle gave Horowitz the official endorsement to write a continuation of the Sherlock Holmes stories.The Word is Murder more or less features Anthony Horowitz as him If you have read the Magpie Murders by Horowitz then this book won’t seem at all bizarre or unusual. He is an author who likes to think outside the box. His plots are wee bit like Conan Doyle does Schrödinger’s Cat in the form of a murder mystery. While I’m on the subject it is worth mentioning that in 2011 the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle gave Horowitz the official endorsement to write a continuation of the Sherlock Holmes stories.The Word is Murder more or less features Anthony Horowitz as himself in the main role. It is an interesting way to approach a crime story. I’m sure readers will start to wonder how much is fiction and how much of the actual crime story is fact.It isn’t until Horowitz actually mentions a few of his accolades that you realise just how accomplished and successful he is. In this scenario his diminishes his success, and plays with the fact he has prominent contacts.A woman walks into a funeral parlour to plan and arrange her own funeral, and a few hours later she is ready to use the coffin she just bought. Is it just a huge coincidence or did someone end her life prematurely? Well the cord around her neck speaks volumes.Horowitz is unaware of this particular event until an ex-police detective asks him to write a book about the murder with himself starring as the savvy detective. Horowitz finds it hard to work with this eccentric, obstinate and yet very observant detective, however he can’t help but be pulled into the intriguing story that unfolds in front of him. Hawthorne is like a grumpy Columbo with Sherlock’s deductive skills.I enjoyed it, just like I really enjoyed the Magpie Murders, because the author isn’t afraid to mix it up and challenge his readers. Thinking outside of the crime and mystery schemata to create unusual and yet captivating reads. The word is murder, but in this case the word is also Horowitz and Hawthorne are the new Watson and Sherlock.*I received an ARC courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.*
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  • Orlok
    January 1, 1970
    I haven't read any of the Alex Rider series, but Mr. Horowitz's move into "adult" fiction is most welcome, and he is fast becoming for me a must-read author. This story has a feel of the Robert Galbraith Cormoran Strike books, and was an intriguing and enjoyable read.
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  • Gemma Foo
    January 1, 1970
    Full review on my blog: http://wp.me/p6917X-Gb
  • Leonie Byrne
    January 1, 1970
    I first came across Anthony Horowitz when I worked in a school library a number of years ago. Of course this was through his Alex Rider novels as they were pretty much the only books I ever saw teenage boys checking out! But up to now I haven't actually read anything he's written. I do own House of Silk and Moriarty but I haven't got round to reading them yet, only because I read my kindle books in alphabetical order by author and I haven't yet reached the 'H' part. So The Word is Murder is my f I first came across Anthony Horowitz when I worked in a school library a number of years ago. Of course this was through his Alex Rider novels as they were pretty much the only books I ever saw teenage boys checking out! But up to now I haven't actually read anything he's written. I do own House of Silk and Moriarty but I haven't got round to reading them yet, only because I read my kindle books in alphabetical order by author and I haven't yet reached the 'H' part. So The Word is Murder is my first Anthony Horowitz novel. Therefore I had no preconceived ideas of what to expect when I was sent an ARC (many thanks to Cornerstone). This novel was completely surreal (but in a good way) it is basically a novel about a novel being researched and written, the starring role belong to Anthony Horowitz himself! Anthony is approached by an ex police detective Daniel Hawthorne to write a true crime book about a murder he has been called on to investigate as a consultant. Horowitz doesn't like Hawthorne and in fact doesn't want to write with him either. Especially as Hawthorne insists on calling him 'Tony' and 'mate' and criticises everything he writes. But he's drawn in by the mystery of the murder of Diana Cowper mother of famous actor Damian Cowper. What makes it weirdest of all is that she arranged her own funeral the same day. The line between fact and fiction is so blurred that I actually had to google whether or not it was true! It's definitely encouraged me to read more of Anthony Horowitz's writing. The plot was enjoyable and intriguing, made more so by it's pure unusualness. To insert oneself into your own novel is a brace and difficult thing and I feel that Anthony Horowitz achieved it brilliantly. Not to mention that as a budding author myself it included some great writing tips! A perfect detective novel in a unique style complete with an excellent twist!
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  • Yvonne
    January 1, 1970
    I loved, loved, loved this book. Now how to get my head right for writing a review for it. If you have have read this, you will know what I mean. If you haven't read it, please do, you won't regret it. So 24 hours later here is my review:I don’t think I have ever read a book in the style that this one has been written. The narrator of the story is Mr. Horowitz himself. To start, the reader is introduced to Diana Cowper, she is making plans for her own funeral, six hours later she is dead. Then I I loved, loved, loved this book. Now how to get my head right for writing a review for it. If you have have read this, you will know what I mean. If you haven't read it, please do, you won't regret it. So 24 hours later here is my review:I don’t think I have ever read a book in the style that this one has been written. The narrator of the story is Mr. Horowitz himself. To start, the reader is introduced to Diana Cowper, she is making plans for her own funeral, six hours later she is dead. Then I got a little confused, what I appeared to be reading was like a C.V of the achievements of the author, this however was the lead up to the main story.So the main story concerns Horowitz and ex police officer Detective Hawthorne. He has approached Horowitz to write a true crime book for him, it will entail Horowitz shadowing Hawthorne as he is investigating a bizarre and intriguing murder. This is where the book shows its unique quirkiness. As the case unfolds everything is recorded by Horowitz, to be later used in the book. It is during this time that we get a glimpse into the mind of a writer doing research, he is given all he needs for the book by Hawthorne. Horowitz sees clues where there are none, and Horowitz effectively guides the reader through red herrings, just as he is in the book. Hawthorne has a tenacity through HIS investigation, he is a stickler for detail and therefore will allow not artistic license. Because of this everything is relevant and is not flowery or padded out.I absolutely adored the character of Hawthorne. He is a loner, he is annoying, does not give any personal details away, he is a character I still know little about. But what he lacks in details is made up for by the way Horowitz has developed quite a complex character, giving away odd little traits and habits. Even though Hawthorne has his own hunches and ideas, we are never given any glimpse from this charcter as to who the culprit is. For Horowitz, hispart in the story, apart from telling of his past, present and future projects and the name dropping of films, shows, actors etc, was his ability to lay himself open to being wrong and the often barbed comments from Hawthorne, they happened often, and I do admit to sniggering a few times. Even when Horowitz thinks he has an idea, Hawthorne just blows holes in them and knocks them aside. Before I got to the actual unveiling of the murderer, I still had no idea who it was. It is left to Hawthorne to explain how, when and why everything happened the way it did, very much in the way Agatha Christie would have done in her books.This is a blend of fact and fiction that has been warped and twisted into a very addictive read. It hooked me from the very beginning and did not let go, there are stories within stories, facts, details, characters, mis-direction and false leads throughout, but it is very well put together so that it all makes sense and flows well and at a very good pace. I have found this story to be so difficult to review because I really don’t want to give anything away, if you have read this book, then you will know exactly what I mean. If you have not read this book, then go get yourself a copy, right now.I would like to thank Netgalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for my copy of this book. My thoughts are my own and are unbiased and honest.
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  • Yvonne
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t think I have ever read a book in the style that this one has been written. The narrator of the story is Mr. Horowitz himself. To start, the reader is introduced to Diana Cowper, she is making plans for her own funeral, six hours later she is dead. Then I got a little confused, what I appeared to be reading was like a C.V of the achievements of the author, this however was the lead up to the main story.So the main story concerns Horowitz and ex police officer Detective Hawthorne. He has a I don’t think I have ever read a book in the style that this one has been written. The narrator of the story is Mr. Horowitz himself. To start, the reader is introduced to Diana Cowper, she is making plans for her own funeral, six hours later she is dead. Then I got a little confused, what I appeared to be reading was like a C.V of the achievements of the author, this however was the lead up to the main story.So the main story concerns Horowitz and ex police officer Detective Hawthorne. He has approached Horowitz to write a true crime book for him, it will entail Horowitz shadowing Hawthorne as he is investigating a bizarre and intriguing murder. This is where the book shows its unique quirkiness. As the case unfolds everything is recorded by Horowitz, to be later used in the book. It is during this time that we get a glimpse into the mind of a writer doing research, he is given all he needs for the book by Hawthorne. Horowitz sees clues where there are none, and Horowitz effectively guides the reader through red herrings, just as he is in the book. Hawthorne has a tenacity through HIS investigation, he is a stickler for detail and therefore will allow not artistic license. Because of this everything is relevant and is not flowery or padded out.I absolutely adored the character of Hawthorne. He is a loner, he is annoying, does not give any personal details away, he is a character I still know little about. But what he lacks in details is made up for by the way Horowitz has developed quite a complex character, giving away odd little traits and habits. Even though Hawthorne has his own hunches and ideas, we are never given any glimpse from this charcter as to who the culprit is. For Horowitz, hispart in the story, apart from telling of his past, present and future projects and the name dropping of films, shows, actors etc, was his ability to lay himself open to being wrong and the often barbed comments from Hawthorne, they happened often, and I do admit to sniggering a few times. Even when Horowitz thinks he has an idea, Hawthorne just blows holes in them and knocks them aside. Before I got to the actual unveiling of the murderer, I still had no idea who it was. It is left to Hawthorne to explain how, when and why everything happened the way it did, very much in the way Agatha Christie would have done in her books.This is a blend of fact and fiction that has been warped and twisted into a very addictive read. It hooked me from the very beginning and did not let go, there are stories within stories, facts, details, characters, mis-direction and false leads throughout, but it is very well put together so that it all makes sense and flows well and at a very good pace. I have found this story to be so difficult to review because I really don’t want to give anything away, if you have read this book, then you will know exactly what I mean. If you have not read this book, then go get yourself a copy, right now.I would like to thank Netgalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for my copy of this book. My thoughts are my own and are unbiased and honest.
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  • Jacki (Julia Flyte)
    January 1, 1970
    This is a clever murder mystery. What sets it apart is the way that Anthony Horrowitz has inserted himself into the story, pretending that it's a true event rather than a fictional tale. It is also quite satisfying constructed, with clues throughout that make sense. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. It took me over a week to read it, a sign that it didn't have quite enough forward propulsion to keep me interested.
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  • Nola
    January 1, 1970
    The Word is Murder is a postmodern whodunnit in which the author manages to create a detective drama but also weaves his own autobiographical story into the flesh of the novel. This results in the blurring of reality and fiction: just how much is based on fact? Was there a real murder that this novel is based on? The reader is compelled to read on to solve a myriad of mysteries. If you're a fan of linear storylines then the title could be true and the word could possibly feel like murder if you The Word is Murder is a postmodern whodunnit in which the author manages to create a detective drama but also weaves his own autobiographical story into the flesh of the novel. This results in the blurring of reality and fiction: just how much is based on fact? Was there a real murder that this novel is based on? The reader is compelled to read on to solve a myriad of mysteries. If you're a fan of linear storylines then the title could be true and the word could possibly feel like murder if you choose to read this but if you're up for a literary challenge then dive right in. Agatha Christie fans will love it.
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  • Jackie Jones
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a unique read and I really enjoyed it! Horowitz includes himself in this narrative so well that at times I wasn't actually sure if I was reading a non-fiction crime thriller or a fiction thriller. I've never read a story where the author is the narrator in such a way that he was in this.I found it easy to read, quite like an old-fashioned, Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery, and I can't wait to sell this as our Book of the Month!4.5 stars :)
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Gosh this book is strange. I’m still not sure whether it’s good-strange or bad-strange, but I managed to enjoy it an awful lot despite its inherent weirdness.What makes it so odd is that Horowitz inserts himself slap-bang into the middle of events as a walking, talking self-insert. He doesn’t do anything so dreadfully generic as invent a fictional sidekick for his protagonist, oh no. Horowitz literally writes himself into the book. (As a writer, writing a book.) The mind boggles.Lines are strong Gosh this book is strange. I’m still not sure whether it’s good-strange or bad-strange, but I managed to enjoy it an awful lot despite its inherent weirdness.What makes it so odd is that Horowitz inserts himself slap-bang into the middle of events as a walking, talking self-insert. He doesn’t do anything so dreadfully generic as invent a fictional sidekick for his protagonist, oh no. Horowitz literally writes himself into the book. (As a writer, writing a book.) The mind boggles.Lines are strongly blurred between fiction and reality. Although the criminal element of the book is clearly an invention (and a good one, at that! A woman visits a funeral parlour to arrange her own funeral, and later that day is murdered. What a great hook), there’s also a lot drawn from Horowitz’s real life - his family, his body of work, a whole chapter where he pals around with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson planning the Tintin sequel. At one point I even wondered if the book was written to explain his removal from the project - ‘look world, I couldn’t possibly have worked on Tintin 2 when I was busy solving a murder!’But, weirdness set as far aside as it’s possible to set it - The Word is Murder is a great crime novel. As the plot developed, I found myself so engaged that I was annotating the text to flag up clues and links, and feeling mightily pleased with myself in the process. Which made it all the more infuriating when Horowitz began making teasing pronouncements about the solution along the lines of: “it had been there all along, in front of our eyes [...] In fact it was obvious.” Happily, he is outsmarted (in his own book? Did I mention that this concept is so weird?).The protagonist here is former detective Daniel Hawthorne. Despite his Sherlockian brilliance at reading crime scenes and people, he’s unlikable, and such a closed book that we learn almost nothing about him until the final chapter. In perhaps the strangest section of the novel, Horowitz-the-author reveals Hawthorne to be homophobic. Horowitz-the-character then struggles with whether to omit this from his book or not, and honestly I’m not entirely certain what the point of it all was.I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of The Word is Murder, and especially loved that all wrongdoing ultimately hinged on a missing cat named Mr. Tibbs. More crime novels should revolve around missing cats. However, more crime novels definitely should not borrow this self-insertion concept, and I truly hope it doesn’t become the next big craze.Sincere thanks to Century at Penguin Random House UK for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.[Review originally published on my blog at Line After Line.]
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  • Siobhan
    January 1, 1970
    The Word is Murder is a whodunnit thriller with a metafictional twist from the acclaimed author of Alex Rider and a variety of crime and thriller stories. A former police detective draws a writer into the case of a woman who walked into an undertakers and planned her own funeral only hours before she was murdered. The deal is, the case is written about by the writer and the profits split 50/50. Before they can worry about that, however, they have to solve the case, following a trial of clues tha The Word is Murder is a whodunnit thriller with a metafictional twist from the acclaimed author of Alex Rider and a variety of crime and thriller stories. A former police detective draws a writer into the case of a woman who walked into an undertakers and planned her own funeral only hours before she was murdered. The deal is, the case is written about by the writer and the profits split 50/50. Before they can worry about that, however, they have to solve the case, following a trial of clues that lead around theatrical celebrity and an old car accident. The thing is, the writer is Anthony Horowitz, and he’s never wanted to get involved with a real crime before.Horowitz has already written Sherlock Holmes and James Bond stories, proving that he can take other people’s characters and fit them into his own books, but in this novel he takes himself, his own writing life, and plenty of other real life details and turns them into a self-aware detective story. After the initial chapter that describes the murder, it becomes quickly apparent that the narrator is Anthony Horowitz, following in a writing tradition of fictionalising yourself and your own life (not dissimilar to Bret Easton Ellis’ Lunar Park, though that gets a lot weirder by the end). The narrator is unreliable from the start, describing the process of gathering information, deciding what makes it into the book, and cutting out things from endless expletives to boring and unnecessary detail. The detective character, a former policeman turned consultant for both investigations and the writing of crime drama, is set up not so much through his personality, but by how difficult it is to make him a likable character. Other elements, such as the famous young actor whose roles are a mash-up of the big names from British acting in recent years, add to the meta quality, keeping a vague sense that this could almost not be fiction. These quirks give The Word Is Murder a fresh feel, though it still has a complicated whodunnit plot to keep it gripping too.Horowitz has created a novel where he plays a modern day Watson, a crime writer caught up in a real investigation and making a few faux pas along the way. Maybe the conceit will seem unnecessary to some, but The Word Is Murder will undoubtedly exhilarate not only crime and Horowitz fans, but anyone who enjoys the sense of metafiction and fourth wall breaking found in books by authors like Lemony Snicket, Bret Easton Ellis, and Martin Amis amongst others.
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  • Lynn Williams
    January 1, 1970
    https://lynns-books.com/2017/09/04/th...What 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 https://lynns-books.com/2017/09/04/th...What 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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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    One bright spring morning Diana Cowper walks into a funeral parlour to arrange her own funeral. Six hours later she is dead, strangled in her own home. It can’t be a coincidence…can it? Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne – who is technically no longer with the police but still assists with particularly challenging cases – is called in to investigate. This is to be an investigation with a difference, however, because Hawthorne has enlisted the services of author Anthony Horowitz to write a book One bright spring morning Diana Cowper walks into a funeral parlour to arrange her own funeral. Six hours later she is dead, strangled in her own home. It can’t be a coincidence…can it? Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne – who is technically no longer with the police but still assists with particularly challenging cases – is called in to investigate. This is to be an investigation with a difference, however, because Hawthorne has enlisted the services of author Anthony Horowitz to write a book about the case. Horowitz has never written a true-crime book before and admits to being much more comfortable when writing fiction such as his Sherlock Holmes sequel The House of Silk or the Alex Rider young adult series. It is with some reservations, then, that he agrees to write Hawthorne’s story, but as he accompanies the detective while he interviews suspects and searches for clues, Horowitz is drawn into the investigation despite himself. The two have very different visions for their book; Horowitz believes in using artistic licence to tell a story that people will want to read, but Hawthorne is adamant that he should report only the facts, leaving nothing out that could be of significance. The author also tries in vain to get to know the detective, to shape him into a character who will stand alongside Holmes and Poirot, but the other man remains frustratingly enigmatic: “Well, if I was going to write about you, you’d have to tell me. I’d have to know where you live, whether you’re married or not, what you have for breakfast, what you do on your day off. That’s why people read murder stories.”“Is that what you think?”“Yes!”He shook his head. “I don’t agree. The word is murder. That’s what matters.”I started to read The Word is Murder with very high hopes, having loved Horowitz’s previous novel, Magpie Murders (one of my favourite books of last year). I wasn’t disappointed; this is another great book! In fact, like Magpie Murders – but in a different way – it is almost two books in one. We have the story of Horowitz and his relationship with Hawthorne and then we have the murder investigation itself. I’m aware that I’ve said very little so far about the latter – and I’m not going to say much more, other than that it is a very clever, tightly plotted mystery with plenty of clues, suspects and red herrings. Thanks to Hawthorne’s insistence on everything being written down, most of the clues are there from the beginning and the rest are at least revealed early enough for us to guess the solution before Horowitz does. I have to admit, though, that I was slow to put them together and didn’t come close to solving the mystery! I should probably make it clear that Diana Cowper is a fictional character – she wasn’t really murdered six hours after arranging her own funeral and Hawthorne, who is also fictional, wasn’t really brought in to investigate. Anthony Horowitz, however, is obviously a real person and so The Word is Murder is a curious blend of fiction and non-fiction. He is not the first author to use themselves as a character in their own novel, but I’m not sure if anyone else has done it in quite the same way! Although the passages in which Horowitz describes his various writing projects, his appearances at book festivals and his views on literary agents are a bit of a distraction from the central plot at times, his main role in the story is as a sort of Watson-style sidekick, and this aspect of the novel works very well. As for Hawthorne, he has quite an unpleasant personality, being humourless, secretive, pedantic, and – to Horowitz’s disgust – homophobic, but I found him a fascinating character, precisely because he is so unattractive. They are an unlikely pairing but there is plenty of potential here for more Hawthorne/Horowitz mysteries, I think – I would certainly be happy to read them, anyway!
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  • Lavender
    January 1, 1970
    This was an extremely entertaining read form me. I really liked how Horowitz puts himself into this story and gave us an inside into the world of a famous writer. A woman goes to an undertaker and takes care of her own funeral. This is not so unusual, but what makes it mysterious is that she is murdered just a few hours later. Did she know that she was going to die?Anthony Horowitz is a successful writer of books and screenplays. He puts himself inside this story. There are probably other writer This was an extremely entertaining read form me. I really liked how Horowitz puts himself into this story and gave us an inside into the world of a famous writer. A woman goes to an undertaker and takes care of her own funeral. This is not so unusual, but what makes it mysterious is that she is murdered just a few hours later. Did she know that she was going to die?Anthony Horowitz is a successful writer of books and screenplays. He puts himself inside this story. There are probably other writers who did this before but I never read a story like this. And it was absolutely fun to read! Horowitz shows himself working on some projects when he is approached by an consulting detective which he met before. Hawthorne worked for TV as a consultant and Horowitz met him while working on an TV show. Hawthorne was asked by the police to look into the murder of this lady. He thinks this murder case in interesting enough and he asks Horowitz to write a book about him and this case. Horowitz is not interested at first. He has so much work to do and he is not a true crime writer. But somehow he agreed to write this book. So he has to follow Hawthorne around and is part of his investigation. He feels a bit intimidated by Hawthorne, who is a very good detective and a bit Sherlock-like. He feels always like he is one step behind the enigmatic Hawthorne.I immensely enjoyed this book. It was less the crime story which is complex and with a satisfying solution. But I loved all that was around it. Horowitz gives us insights of how a writer works and what’s it like. There is a lot of name dropping and gossip about the theatre and film world. There is a scene were Horowitz meets Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson in a quite bizarre meeting which turns out to be not as he imagined. It was hilarious.This was my second book from Anthony Horowitz. I only read “Moriarty” and it was just an OK read. But I liked “The Word is Murder” and his writing very much. It was very British, with a fine humor. I already got “Magpie Murders” on my list and I will watch out for Mr. Horowitz in the future. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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  • Gaynor Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    This is the second book in the space of a few weeks that I have read where the author is the narrator and part of the plot, working with their fictional detective. But whereas I was disappointed with the other book, this is brilliant! The narrator here is actual real-life author Anthony Horowitz, and the intermingling of fact with fiction is so cleverly done that you are never quite sure how much of the plot is made up and what might actually be true. It is such a hard job to walk that tightrope This is the second book in the space of a few weeks that I have read where the author is the narrator and part of the plot, working with their fictional detective. But whereas I was disappointed with the other book, this is brilliant! The narrator here is actual real-life author Anthony Horowitz, and the intermingling of fact with fiction is so cleverly done that you are never quite sure how much of the plot is made up and what might actually be true. It is such a hard job to walk that tightrope and keep the reader on board but Horowitz manages it brilliantly. Hawthorne, his detective, is someone who is not easy to like but he is clever and that is what you really want in a detective. So the character is accepted even while his faults are decried. The author admits that he doesn't like him but he can't help admiring his quickness of mind and being fascinated by the mystery of the man. All the way through the book the writing process is to the fore, and yet it doesn't interfere with the story in any way, rather it heightens the effect and adds to the reader's enjoyment. The mystery at the heart of the novel is well played out, with all the clues there for the reader to find, and yet well enough hidden that solving the whodunit is not easy. Very Agatha Christie! All in all a most enjoyable and innovative read.Thank you to the publishers for letting me have a copy of this book via Netgalley, in return for an honest review.
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  • Keith Chawgo
    January 1, 1970
    Using an unreliable narrator to steer his plot, this is a very satisfying whodunnit in the vein of Sherlock Holmes with its old school feel about it. This is an amalgamation of parts that totally pays off with its own unique style and fortitude. The characters are so well written and plot devises carry the reader forth in this page turner that never really disappoints. It feels old school but is very modern in its approach and have to say that this is a definite fun read that kept me totally eng Using an unreliable narrator to steer his plot, this is a very satisfying whodunnit in the vein of Sherlock Holmes with its old school feel about it. This is an amalgamation of parts that totally pays off with its own unique style and fortitude. The characters are so well written and plot devises carry the reader forth in this page turner that never really disappoints. It feels old school but is very modern in its approach and have to say that this is a definite fun read that kept me totally engrossed. This is the first novel that I have read by Horowitz and from reading this, it will definitely not be my last. The sentence structuring is superb and so well written that at times I had to read a few passages twice and engulf myself in the beauty of them. There is also an ingenious plot device where the author becomes the Watson to the police detective Sherlock like approach. This also has a knowing nod to anyone that is a fan of Horowitz’s work as he has placed himself into the novel and breaking the forth wall.None of this should work but it works surprisingly well and it is a real treat from beginning to end. Working across a trilogy of genres, this murder mystery, modern, suspense, thriller fiction is a treat and one that is highly recommend. This is a class act novel that will not disappoint.
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  • Sam Obigbesan
    January 1, 1970
    “I don’t agree. The word is murder, that’s what matters”. From the publisher summary, I knew that I would be interested in reading this book. After all, it was Anthony Horowitz. After ‘Magpie murders’ I hoped that he would right some more murder mystery novels. A few hours after a woman makes arrangements for own funeral, she is killed. And this is how the author Anthony Horowitz finds himself alongside ex detective Daniel Hawthorne on the trail to find and unmask the killer.Their adventures lea “I don’t agree. The word is murder, that’s what matters”. From the publisher summary, I knew that I would be interested in reading this book. After all, it was Anthony Horowitz. After ‘Magpie murders’ I hoped that he would right some more murder mystery novels. A few hours after a woman makes arrangements for own funeral, she is killed. And this is how the author Anthony Horowitz finds himself alongside ex detective Daniel Hawthorne on the trail to find and unmask the killer.Their adventures leading them through London to Kent and back again. Suffice to say I very much enjoyed this novel, every minute of it. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised that the one actually telling the story was Anthony Horowitz himself, these events were supposedly happening to him. The plot and dialogue, thought processes of the characters and the authors observations were deliciously quirky. All the tropes were there, an almost Sherlock Holmes kind of character, his sidekick, a strange murder, layers and layers of secrets, interesting characters, none more than the author as well as the ex-detective Hawthorne, and a sweet twist in the end. There were red herrings galore, a bloody murder and cleverly placed clues; the kind of clues that make you smack your head after everything’s explained. I am prepared to give one spoiler, The author doesn’t die in the end. This was 4 stars for me. I really liked it. And if you enjoyed “House of silk”, “Moriarty” and “Magpie Murders” you will enjoy this one as well. And lest not forget the excellent narration provided by Rory Kinnear, with the down to earth and slightly quirky tone of voice I could almost believe that he was Anthony Horowitz.
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