Anthony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders, makes no pretense about what it is, namely a rollicking good read. For those Netflix fans amongst you, Horowitz was the brains behind Midsomer Murders and as you read this book, it’s hard to forget this legacy. No one would ever accuse Midsommer Murders of being highbrow, but it is hard to think of anything that’s an easier ‘watch’. Murder mysteries that your granny is going to enjoy along with your 11 year old. If you haven’t watched any, you should, they’re a treat!
As a reviewer, I had never read any Horowitz, but my daughter, around about the age of eleven, discovered the Alex Rider books and was riveted. When my friend, the delightful Ms M, recommended the Magpie Murders to me, it was with my daughter in mind. Now, let’s be clear here, unlike a Midsomer Murder, there is no way on earth that a teenager would sit down and read this book, unless you have one of those quirky children who has plenty of patience and a somewhat middle aged heart, in which case you most likely have other problems coming your way. In contrast, you will, if not love it, then certainly enjoy it. It’s an easy holiday read, no more, no less.
Magpie Murders is a book within a book, a murder within a murder, a read within a read. When Alan Conway hands in his final Atticus Pund novel, his editor, Susan Ryeland, can hardly wait to begin to read it and so she settles down for a weekend doing just that. (As a reader, that is pretty much what you will do too: absorb yourself in the world of Atticus Pund for a couple of days.) The problem is that the manuscript isn’t complete and so begins our second mystery, namely what happened to Alan Conway and the end of the Magpie Murders?
I think what I enjoyed most about the book and indeed what was also perhaps the most surprising, is that I enjoyed both parts of the story in equal measure. So often with books that are split between different characters or timeframes, I find myself spending half my time reading in haste to get to the next part, but not so with this book. It really is fun and different to sit there reading a book where there are two whodunnits. Two problems to figure out. Two equally well written and delivered tales. I’m proud to say that I figured out the editor plotline (hooray!), but sadly not the Atticus Pund tale (boo!) but I can live with that.
Well worth the read.