Close to Death

Harper. (A Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery, Bk. 5). Apr. 2024. 432p. ISBN 9780063305649. $30. M
There’s more than one mystery in Horowitz’s uproarious fifth Detective Hawthorne novel (after The Twist of a Knife). The first mystery: Who killed Giles Kenworthy, an unpleasant hedge fund manager who ran roughshod over the tranquility of a cushy cul-de-sac London neighborhood? The manner of death was gruesome: Kenworthy was shot in the throat with a cross bow. Every resident of the gated community, from the chess master to the “dentist to the stars” to the two widows who suspected Kenworthy of dogicide, is a suspect. The police call in ex-DI Daniel Hawthorne to help. Hawthorne is the second mystery. Author Horowitz, who inserts himself in the story and alternates between first- and third-person narration, is fascinated with the elusive, evasive detective, with whom he’s worked on several cases. In alternating chapters, Hawthorne and his equally mysterious partner, John Dudley, sift through the evidence; five years after the murder, Horowitz, fed the investigation in dribs and drabs by Hawthorne, attempts to make a book out of the case. Along the way, Horowitz comments on locked-room mysteries, makes a few crime fiction recommendations, and misses some vital clues.
VERDICT Ingenious metafiction fun from a master.
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