I first heard of The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz through my dear friend FictionFan’s blog, she reviewed this book a few months ago and had some complicated feelings about it. When the publisher sent it to me for review, I decided to give it a go, even though FF recommended another one of Horowitz’s books to start with (the only reason I didn’t follow her advice was pure laziness, as this book was already in my hands). Although mine and FF’s tastes usually run quite similar, I have to disagree with her on this one, because I really loved this book. It’s got the water damaged pages to prove it-I even took it in the bath with me!
The book is written by famous UK writer Anthony Horowitz-and its protagonist is…Anthony Horowitz. At least, the story is told from his perspective, and as readers we are told that Horowitz is writing this very book, so as I read, I assumed the Horowitz character was very similar to the real-life Horowitz. But let’s be clear about one thing, this book is most definitely fiction! It’s about the murder of Diana Cowper, a widow who was strangled from behind in her own home, but the strange thing is, she arranged her own funeral that same afternoon. Coincidence? Hardly! A disgraced ex-detective Hawthorne is brought on by the local police as a ‘consultant’ to help solve the case because of his past successes in solving murders, and he invites Horowitz to follow him around and write a book about this particular mystery. Strangely, and against his better judgement the author agrees, because truth be told Hawthorne is a real asshole.
I’m the kind of person that LOVES learning about the author’s real life, so I really enjoyed this glimpse into the writing life, even if it’s more fiction than reality. I found Horowitz’s voice witty and engaging, he didn’t seem too uppity, even though he’s quite successful and his eagerness to please Hawthorne rang true to me. In this particular case, Horowitz is meant to be a kind of Watson, and Hawthorne a Sherlock Holmes, and I did enjoy this dynamic, even if Horowitz didn’t come across as efficient as Watson typically does. In my mind, Watson is a vital part of Holmes’ success, whereas in this book, Hawthorne always seems one step ahead of Horowitz.
Another reason to read this book is the fact that the mystery is well plotted out, and the red herrings serve well to distract the reader as I did not see the ending coming! A satisfying read with some humorous banter throughout, I highly recommend this book.
Buy the book here
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