A must-read mystery to curl up with this fall
In New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz’s ingenious fourth literary whodunit following The Word is Murder, The Sentence is Death, and A Line to Kill, Horowitz becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation—and only one man can prove his innocence: his newly estranged partner in solving crime, Detective Hawthorne.
“I’m sorry but the answer’s no.” Reluctant author, Anthony Horowitz, has had enough. He tells ex-detective Daniel Hawthorne that after three books he’s splitting and their deal is over.
The truth is that Anthony has other things on his mind.
His new play, a thriller called Mindgame, is about to open at the Vaudeville Theater in London’s West End. Not surprisingly, Hawthorne declines a ticket to the opening night.
The play is panned by the critics. In particular, Sunday Times critic Margaret Throsby gives it a savage review, focusing particularly on the writing. The next day, Throsby is stabbed in the heart with an ornamental dagger which turns out to belong to Anthony, and has his fingerprints all over it.
Anthony is arrested by an old enemy . . . Detective Inspector Cara Grunshaw. She still carries a grudge from her failure to solve the case described in the second Hawthorne adventure, The Sentence is Death, and blames Anthony. Now she’s out for revenge.
Thrown into prison and fearing for both his personal future and his writing career, Anthony is the prime suspect in Throsby’s murder and when a second theatre critic is found to have died in mysterious circumstances, the net closes in. Ever more desperate, he realizes that only one man can help him.
But will Hawthorne take the call?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Anthony Horowitz the writer becomes Anthony Horowitz the murder suspect in this clever installment of his Hawthorne and Horowitz mystery series—in which the author is also the main character. Anthony is sick of writing books inspired by his collaborator, the inscrutable private detective Daniel Hawthorne. But shortly after leaving Daniel in the dust to focus on writing a play for the London stage, Anthony’s forced to reach out to his ex-partner for help…since he’s been accused of murdering his fiercest theater critic. There’s no shortage of suspects in this fun roller coaster of a whodunit—you’ll lean into every twist and turn as the chase leads from the backstage dramas of the West End to private-school scandals in the countryside. The Twist of a Knife is frantic, smart, and as British as afternoon tea.
Fair-play whodunits don't come much funnier than bestseller Horowitz's brilliant fourth mystery featuring a fictionalized version of himself as the bumbling sidekick to former detective inspector Daniel Hawthorne (after 2021's A Line to Kill). Hawthorne had convinced Horowitz to write three books chronicling some of Hawthorne's private investigations. With that contract fulfilled, Horowitz declines his partner's request to write another. Later, following the London debut of Horowitz's comic thriller play, Mindgame, theater critic Harriet Throsby pens a savage review, threatening the production's prospects. When she's found fatally stabbed in her home with a dagger given to Horowitz by the play's producer that bears Horowitz's fingerprints, he's arrested. The damning evidence mounts as his hair is found on Throsby's blouse, and video footage shows someone fitting his description near the crime scene right before the stabbing. When Horowitz is released while the investigation proceeds, he persuades Hawthorne to join him in probing the possible guilt of those involved in staging Mindgame. Clues are adroitly hidden in plain sight. This humorous homage to golden age closed-circle mysteries is not to be missed.
Love this series
Another fun book featuring Hawthorne and Horowitz. I’m totally confused who’s real and who’s fiction. But fun read just the same.
More Hawthorne, less Horowitz, please
Anthony Horowitz, the person, is too talented a writer not to construct a solid whodunnit even when the material around it has problems, both of which are the case here. The central mystery here, an apparently simple murder, is nicely layered, and even if the reader probably can’t really fully solve it on their own, Horowitz does play fair with the clues. It is satisfying to see Hawthorne uncover them and fit them together in the end. Unfortunately, the book is let down, a common problem in this series, by Anthony Horowtiz, the character. This man is a chore: whiny, petulant, slow-witted, and apparently even a bad husband. The writer’s habit of weaving his actual biography into the characters narrative is especially problematic since there seems no way this dullard could have achieved what the actual man has. Finishing the book is satisfying both for the solution to the mystery and for the opportunity to get away from “Anthony Horowitz” at least until the next book. The character isn’t enough to sink the tale, which I still recommend, but he comes as close in this book to doing so as he has the entire series.