Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023 Prompt #29

My friends are always recommending books. One that has been recommended and sitting on my shelf for too long is Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. As a fan of crime fiction and murder mysteries, this was recommended to me by a colleague.

What it’s about?

Alan Conway is a bestselling crime writer. His editor, Susan Ryeland, has worked with him for years, and she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. Alan’s traditional formula pays homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. It’s proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

When Susan receives Alan’s latest manuscript, in which Atticus Pünd investigates a murder at Pye Hall, an English manor house, she has no reason to think it will be any different from the others. There will be dead bodies, a cast of intriguing suspects, and plenty of red herrings and clues. But the more Susan reads, the more she’s realizes that there’s another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript—one of ambition, jealousy, and greed—and that soon it will lead to murder.

What I think:

This is essentially two books for the price of one as there is a whole novel with a novel.

The reader gets to read both Alan Conway’s manuscript and the novel surrounding it.

Sue Ryeland is an editor and looking forward to reading Conway’s latest novel in the highly successful Atticus Pünd series. But things take a strange turn when the final chapters are missing and the writer is found dead.

It looks like suicide or a tragic accident, but Sue is not convinced. Has Conway been murdered? And are there clues in his latest novel? Sue is determined to uncover the truth and find the missing chapters that could sol e both a fictional murder and a real one.

This is such a clever concept. Magpie Murders is a classic crime style village murder. With a cast of suspects, all hiding secrets. The reader is really frustrated as the novel ends before the big reveal. Detective Atticus Pünd is just about to explain what was done and by whom when the chapters end and the reading is left trying to work it out for themselves.

In her quest to try and find the missing pages from the manuscript, Sue finds herself exploring the life of Alan Conway and uncovering his real-life secrets.

This is such a clever, twisty book. Horowitz’s love for and knowledge of the genre shines through. There are some cheeky twists and revelations as well as writerly tricks that the reader will really appreciate.

I was absolutely kept guessing and enjoyed both of the stories and the connections between the two. The next book in the series is also on my shelves so I will hopefully read it soon.

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