The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

The Word Is MurderThe Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This novel gets a point for originality in format if not in plot. It’s written in the first person, which by itself isn’t original, but the trick here is that the author is writing as himself, the real Anthony Horowitz, the writer of Foyle’s War and many successful books. It is populated with various real people he may have encountered in real life like Steven Spielberg, especially people in British television. In the end, though, that’s just a gimmick. The plot is a pretty traditional mystery. The author keeps telling the reader that he just left some clues here and there, but there are more red herrings than useful clues.

The mystery fails from what I call the Agatha Christie Syndrome. You may like Agatha Christie. I don’t. Her books, like this one, are filled with clues, but the way the detective interprets them and successfully solves the case is either ridiculous or depends on information not available to the reader. Thus it is not a fair mystery, i.e. one the reader can solve. In this case the author solves it at the very end by virtue of recognizing somebody, someone not identified to the reader until that point. The author then goes on to describe previous clues that supposedly point to that person, but the reality is that they all could just as easily have been totally random, not related to the mystery at all. Many of them are farfetched and contrived. There were so many red herrings that he could have decided in the last chapter to make the killer someone else that all those clues pointed to.

Much of the book seemed like a cross between an ego trip and a puff piece for his other works, which I found quite irritating. The author does write well, at least, and I found it more interesting than another mystery I started on, so it was not a total loss. It was devoid of objectionable material, which is worth something.

View all my reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.