Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Rating: 4.5 stars
I loved this book! It was everything you want from a classic whodunit story with a modern twist.
It starts with a short chapter from Susan, the editor of best-selling author Alan Conway’s mystery series, as she explains that the hunt for the ending of his last manuscript changed her life. Then we are plunged straight into the manuscript, a classic whodunit set in a small English village in the 1950s. The detective, Atticus Pund, has solved murders in eight prior books, but this looks like it will be his last hurrah as Conway writes in an incurable brain tumor.
As Atticus investigates the suspicious death of a housekeeper in a sleepy village, we are introduced to a cast of quirky characters that all have a reason to murder the woman. To both the editor’s and reader’s dismay, the last chapter in which the murderer is revealed is missing. Susan figures her boss forgot to send it, but then Alan commits suicide without sending them the completed manuscript. As Susan tries to track down the ending she begins to suspect that Alan didn’t kill himself and his last work may be the key to finding out who killed him and why.
The story within the story is brilliant, and I loved trying to piece together the circumstances of Alan’s life while simultaneously piecing together the mystery in his last work. Both the main mystery and the mystery in the last manuscript were cleverly written with scads of suspects and plenty of red herrings.
I also loved the throwback ending reveal where Susan talked out the solution with the murderer. It seemed a bit unrealistic for the modern aspect of it, but definitely something you see in a classic mystery like Holmes or Poirot.
I highly recommend this to any one who loves classic mysteries and whodunits.