Magpie Murders

Harper. Jun. 2017. 464p. ISBN 9780062645227. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062645241. M
OrangeReviewStarHorowitz's fourth adult novel (after Trigger Mortis) presents two mysteries for the price of one, crafting a classic whodunit within a modern mystery. Susan Ryeland is an editor for a small press whose success rests on the old-fashioned mystery novels of Alan Conway. Returning from escorting an author on a book tour, she finds Alan's latest Atticus Pünd manuscript, Magpie Murders, on her desk. Upon reaching the novel's end, she finds that the last chapter is missing. When she informs her boss, Charles Clover, he tells her that Alan has committed suicide. Susan searches for the lost chapter, and in the process comes to believe that Alan's death was no suicide. Using clues buried in the manuscript, she investigates his death. While Susan and the fictional Atticus are very different characters, they use similar techniques to tease out the clues and hints to bring each mystery to resolution.
VERDICT Both stories might stand alone, but combined, they result in a delightful puzzle. Fans of Agatha Christie and the BBC's Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War (both written by Horowitz) will relish this double mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 12/12/16; "Editors' Spring Picks," LJ 2/15/17.]
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