Posts Tagged ‘Golden Age Detective Fiction’


Published: 6 October 2016
Reviewed: 27 October 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Orion in return for an honest review


When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life. She’s worked with the revered crime writer for years and his detective, Atticus Pund, is renowned for solving crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s. As Susan knows only too well, vintage crime sells handsomely. It’s just a shame that it means dealing with an author like Alan Conway…

But Conway’s latest tale of murder at Pye Hall is not quite what it seems. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but hidden in the pages of the manuscript there lies another story: a tale written between the very words on the page, telling of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition and murder.

From Sunday Times bestseller Anthony Horowitz comes Magpie Murders, his deliciously dark take on the cosy crime novel, brought bang- up-to-date with a fiendish modern twist.

My Thoughts & Review:

Magpie Murders harks back to the Golden Age of detective fiction, and I think that fans of Agatha Christie or Dorothy L Sayers will appreciate the clever mystery within a mystery of this book.

I have to admit that this is the first book by Horowitz that I have read and I’m really impressed with both the style of writing and the skill of the author.  Masterfully weaving two narratives throughout, Horowitz introduces the reader to Susan Ryeland, a wonderful character who is Head of Fiction at Cloverleaf Books.  It is through Susan that one thread of narrative is cleverly related to the reader, she begins to read a novel by Alan Conway, despite not being a fan of him on a personal level, she is very much a fan of his work.  His novel is about Atticus Punt,  a German detective who turned PI in the 1950s in England, the latest case involves a death in the village.  But as she nears the end of the tale, Susan realises the ending is missing, and more startlingly she discovers that the author has died.
What then follows is Susan’s attempts at sleuthing to discover the missing pages of Conway’s book and along the way she makes remarkable discoveries that seem to show a link between Conway’s life and what happened in his novel.

This wonderful technique of storytelling means that the reader is spoiled with two mysteries to ponder, and it does feel like a salute to the masters of Golden Age detective fiction with the clever use of puzzles in the ‘Magpie Murders’ to help solve the case in the present day.  Well fleshed out characters make this an entertaining read, Susan Ryeland is a great character who develops so well throughout the novel.  Alan Conway on the other hand is a hard character to like, and there are no shortage of motives for his possible murder.
The way in which Horowitz brings all the strands of each narrative and mysteries together is very well done, everything ties up nicely and once the final reveal is made you almost feel like berating yourself for missing the obvious clues scattered throughout and for being led astray by the red herrings – well played Mr Horowitz!

A very enjoyable read, with brilliant characters and an absolutely fantastic plot!

You can buy a copy of the Magpie Murders here.



About the Author:

Anthony Horowitz is the author of the number one bestselling Alex Rider books and The Power of Five series. He has enjoyed huge success as a writer for both children and adults, most recently with the latest adventure in the Alex Rider series, Russian Roulette and the highly acclaimed Sherlock Holmes novel, The House of Silk. His latest novel, Moriarty, is also set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and was published in October 2014. Anthony was also chosen by the Ian Fleming estate to write the new James Bond novel which will be published next year. Anthony has won numerous awards, including the Bookseller Association/Nielsen Author of the Year Award, the Children’s Book of the Year Award at the British Book Awards, and the Red House Children’s Book Award. In 2014 Anthony was awarded an OBE for Services to Literature. He has also created and written many major television series, including Injustice, Collision and the award-winning Foyle’s War.

For more information on Anthony’s books go to his website anthonyhorowitz.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHorowitz

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