Spoiler Alert: I liked this one.
After having to wait ages to solve all the parts of this novel, I figure I’ll be upfront. I enjoyed this novel. What was this novel, you ask?
An homage to the classics, Horowitz’s Magpie Murders is story within a story told by fictional book editor, Susan Ryeland.
Fictional author Alan Conway has written the last book in a series of whodunits, staring the crowd favorite detective Atticus Pund. Set in the 1940’s English country, Pund and his faithful assistant are drawn to a small town by a string of intriguing murders. The town is full of gossip, grudges, and secrets. But Pund has the wit of Hercule Poirot and Adrian Monk combined so this crime is no match for him. His kind and grandfatherly demeanor certainly help as well.
But before we solve the murders and connect the pieces, we are abruptly thrust back into Susan’s world where she reveals that the last chapter is missing.
She calls Conway to see why he didn’t send the ending when she hears news of his death.
Now Susan is forced to track down the missing chapter and along the way, discovers Conway’s death may not be what it seemed.
I wish I could go into detail about the story telling this novel provides. The intricacies and attention to plot is impressive and there is something very satisfying about putting the pieces together. But, I don’t want to give those pieces away. So you’ll have to settle with a vague but whole hearted endorsement.
As someone who has read more classic mystery novels than any one person should, I especially appreciated how the history of classic whodunits, and indeed literature in general, played into this novel.
That being said, I did have some issues with these Mgapies and their Murders. There seemed to be a few too many cliches. Although given what we learn about Conway, perhaps this is commentary on the genre as a whole? Am I reading to far into it??
Also, the whole thing with Susan at the end. Really? You’re going to physically turn your back on the murderer? After the whole time comparing her own sleuthing to a novel, I thought she was smarter than this. As for the ending of both Conway and Horowitz’s works, I’m torn. They wrapped up well, but they almost seemed less climactic than all the build up had me hoping for. But again, was this intentional?
Basically one of y’all needs to read this and then get back to me ASAP. I have lots of details to discuss.
If that isn’t a compelling enough reason to have you pick it up, I would say anyone who enjoys classic mysteries, modern mysteries, or good story telling in general should read this.
I vividly remember reading an Encyclopedia Brown story as a child, and I thought I had it all figured out. It turns out my lack of practical knowledge on cars meant I came to the wrong conclusion. After my Mom explained it to me, it seemed so obvious and I couldn’t believe I missed it. It’s been awhile since a novel has truly stumped me like that, but Horowitz did it.
SPEAKING OF MY CHILDHOOD
Bet that got your attention. One year ago today I posted for the first time on this blog! Which means outside of romance novels never to be named and free, low quality Kindle books, I’ve read 40 books this last year! And considering it was authors like Christie, Clark, and Patterson inspired my love of reading from a very early age, Horowitz’s novel feels all too fitting for a first anniversary post.