Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Reading Challenge: book inspired by a classic detective story

Can I count Magpie Murders twice seeing you get two stories for the price of one? I'm asking because this week I had trouble even finishing one book. I was busy editing, building my site for Hollywood Daze and after staring at the screen for too long I just wanted to watch Riverdale and McMafia and go to bed. While getting through the last part of the book, it occurred to me that a Reading Challenge isn't only about making time to read; it is a great way to stop wasting time on Instagram, YouTube, and Reddit. It's the best way to get through a digital detox, and hearing so many complain what Instagram is doing to their self-esteem, it's an easy and enjoyable way of solving that problem.

Magpie Murders is inspired by old British detective stories, it's written by Anthony Horowitz, a prolific British novelist, Young Adult and TV writer who also wrote a novel for the James Bond estate and two Sherlock Holmes book The House of Silk and Moriarty.

The first part of Magpie Murders is set in the English countryside in the fifties. A housekeeper has been found dead and soon after her employer is murdered. But fear not, the famous detective Atticus P√ľnd arrives at Pye Hall. He is brilliant (his sidekick is a lot less so) and after a few chapters, Atticus declares he has solved the murder.

But Magpie Murders is not only the book by Anthony Horowitz but also a manuscript editor Susan Ryeland has been reading in present-day London, written by her most successful writer Alan Conway. As we switch over to her story, halfway through the book, we learn the last chapter is missing from the manuscript. When Alan himself dies, Susan, desperate to find out what the famous detective Atticus had concluded, has to play detective herself.

Alan Conway and Anthony Horowitz himself drew inspiration the same row of Agatha Christie's paperbacks in their bookcase. The same we used to have at home. Ten years old I went through them one by one, starting at the beginning again after I was done, so I enjoyed the first part of the book, the throwback to Christie, but I missed her spark and mischief. Getting to the second part, I understood that Horowitz had been playing with me on purpose. If you love puzzles and anagrams Magpie Murders, this is a book for you.
There are several musings about writing and writers in Magpie Murders and you would think I would love that, but I like my writers to stay invisible. That's the thing I love the most about crime fiction, the disappearing act the writers has to pull off. Like a classic Hollywood movie, the style is seamless; it doesn't jump out at you, so you can lose yourself in the story.
Magpie Murders is a pastiche, a self-referential postmodern work, it's up to you if you're into that kind of thing, if you are it' s a clever reworking, with two very satisfying endings.