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gertrude

November 2018

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crime

The Sentence is Death



Great stuff from Anthony Horowitz! I hadn’t read The Word is Murder, the first Daniel Hawthorne book, so I was completely taken by surprise to find that Horowitz was narrating the book as himself. The very first scene is set at a shoot for Foyle’s War and there are mentions later for his Alex Rider books. This is highly ingenious and, strangely, it works. The shoot is interrupted by Hawthorne, who tells the writer he has a case on which might interest him. Although he was sacked from the Met, Hawthorne is still called in occasionally to help with odd cases and this one is certainly odd. A well known and wealthy divorce lawyer has been found murdered. The ex-wife of one of his clients is known to have assaulted and threatened him in a restaurant. Did she do it? Once we meet her, she seems capable of anything; she’s a ghastly woman. But there’s another possible line of enquiry, involving an incident six years earlier in which a man died.

The author/Horowitz, wants to solve the case before Hawthorne or the unpleasant police officer who has threatened him can do so. He gives up a lot of time to it until he’s sure he’s worked it all out. But is he right? I enjoyed all the social detail in the book: the real London locations, the people in the literary world, the unfortunate events at Daunt's bookshop (you’ll have to read it now!) and of course, Hawthorne. By the end of the book neither writer nor reader is closer to understanding him. I read this thanks to NetGalley.

Comments

I'm reading The Word Is Murder on the Kindle at the moment (it was on offer a while back). I find the author insert very weird but also fascinating: he's just finished his Holmes novel and is working on the Tintin script.
Strange coincidence! I wish I'd read the other one first. In this one, the Holmes book is written and Holmes has a part in the plot. AH also says that writing a Bond book would be his dream!
Maybe he gets the gig later in the book? I was quite moved (as well as jealous) when he said at his Bond talk that he'd got to write for all his childhood heroes: Holmes, Tintin and Bond.