Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz follows Susan Ryeland, an editor for a publishing company, as she introduces the manuscript of the newest installment of the Atticus Pünd mystery series. Alan Conway’s bestselling books about Atticus Pünd pay homage to Agatha Christie’s work and style. Although Susan strongly dislikes Alan Conway, his fame has brought their publishing company strong success, so she must deal with him.
With eight other stories about Atticus Pünd, Susan has no reason to think Magpie Murders should be any different than the rest. But she begins to notice some things within the text itself. Things that may point to real life greed, jealousy and possibly even murder.
I ran across this book on a new releases table while exploring the bookstore with my girlfriend, like we (way too) often do. The cover and title were about enough to sell me on buying this book. But after reading the synopsis touting the likes of Agatha Christie, I knew I simply had to have it. Horowitz definitely didn’t let me down.
This book reads like two books. There is a modern day mystery and a cozy classic mystery in the form of a manuscript. That’s right, an entire manuscript for an entire story is concealed in this book alongside a modern mystery. Both parts are similar in length and, in my opinion, work really well together.
“The most obvious conclusions are the ones I try to avoid.”
This book had me curious of what was going to happen from the first pages until the very end. Some of my favorite books are whodunits, and this one definitely climbs up on that list. My favorite part about this book is that it had me invested in both stories. Even if you’re not invested in one of the two stories, it still fully delivers a conclusion for both, creating a satisfying read.
The manuscript part definitely took its format and style from Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot books and her love of nursery rhymes in murder from her other works, such as And Then There Were None. In fact, Atticus Pünd was strongly depicted after Poirot himself. But this didn’t take away from the story at all. Horowitz found ways to make the story feel familiar without feeling like I’ve read it before. I really enjoyed this part of the book, as it reminded me of reading a classic Christie book.
“Sometimes you spend so much time chasing something that you lose everything else.”
The main mystery of the book, which I won’t discuss in detail due to spoilers, is a modern mystery that bases heavily around the manuscript and the author that wrote it. Basically, after reading the manuscript, Susan notices that things aren’t as they seem. Events, places and people in the book may actually based on real ones. Real ones that involve greed and a possible murder. She races to find answers through her connections and within the Atticus Pünd novels.
I went into this book with some hopeful expectations. I wanted a good whodunit that I would never guess. A story that would feel cozy and mysterious. I was hoping for an Agatha Christie style. And to be perfectly honest, I got all of that times two. I was excited when I realized I was getting an entire story within the main story. A story filled with mystery and a detective I could get behind.
“Fiction merely allows us a glimpse of the alternative.”
Honestly, I would highly recommend this book for people who love a good whodunit. This book grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t release me until I discovered the truth behind both mysteries. If you love a good mystery with some suspense and clever writing, you should definitely pick this book up. I’ve never read any other works by Horowitz, but I’m really hoping that he writes more works like this in the future. I really, really enjoyed this mystery.