Recommend: Yes, with restrictions
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
I have seen this book around for a while, and the description made me pick it up faster than I could say “but you have such a long TBR”. The story starts with Susan Ryeland, an editor who finds herself with the latest manuscript of the famous writer Alan Conway, and there is no indication that this book will be any different from his other bestseller crime novels. The manuscript follows detective Atticus Pünd as he sets to solve a murder in a sleepy English village.
Magpie Murders starts from Susan’s point of view, and then includes the manuscript itself – a book inside a book. Basically, the reader is challenged to solve not one, but two crime stories, and Horowitz does a great job enticing curiosity. It was hard to put it down. This is definitely a page-turner, despite its 500 pages. Both are classic whodunits, with several possible murders and clues cleverly hidden in dialogues. This book has a clear audience: people who read and loved Agatha Christie’s books. Except for the witty remarks on her work and the occasional smirks at the references to her books, this novel was not exceptional, but very entertaining.
The writing flows well, and both Atticus Pünd and Susan Ryeland were nice main characters. The premisse of the book is clever, but I felt both endings (of the book and the manuscript) were quite predictable. I also found the parallels between the manuscript and Susan’s story a bit too much, it got a little annoying at times. In addition to that, there was supposed to be some twist in the end but I didn’t find that to be the case. Maybe that is just because I have read too many Agatha Christie novels, so my mind was set to look for culprits she would have chosen. In any case, I don’t think the book was a masterpiece, but surely was fun to read and impossible to put down.
Verdict: I recommend this to you if you’ve read quite some Agatha Christie and appreciate a crime novel inspired by her work. She is mentioned quite a lot in the book, so if you don’t know the author or don’t like her books, I think you’ll find this irritating.