The Word Is Murder

Harper. Jun. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9780062676788. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062676818. M
In Horowitz's second stand-alone adult novel (after Magpie Murders), the author plays a starring role, putting a real-world twist on a first-person narrative. Daniel Hawthorne, an unlikable private detective, has been called in by the London police to help solve the murder of Diana Cowper. The mother of an up-and-coming actor, Cowper was killed on the day she arranged her own funeral. Horowitz is invited by Hawthorne to write a book about the crime and, not incidentally, split money from the book with Hawthorne. Horowitz is reluctantly intrigued with both the case and Hawthorne, a curmudgeon who reveals nothing about his personal life. A series of missteps by Horowitz annoys Hawthorne as he meticulously untangles the threads of the mystery, offending people as he goes.
VERDICT A classic whodunit with a metatwist, this mystery opens the door to the world of publishing, theater, and television. Fans of Dorothy Sayers and the BBC's Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War (both written by Horowitz) will enjoy this novel. [See Prepub Alert, 12/11/17.]
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