From the New York Times bestselling author of Moriarty and Trigger Mortis , this fiendishly brilliant, riveting thriller weaves a classic whodunit worthy of Agatha Christie into a chilling, ingeniously original modern-day mystery.Read more...
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Moriarty and Trigger Mortis, this fiendishly brilliant, riveting thriller weaves a classic whodunit worthy of Agatha Christie into a chilling, ingeniously original modern-day mystery.
When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she's intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pund, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan's traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.
Conway's latest tale has Atticus Pund investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she's convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.
Masterful, clever, and relentlessly suspenseful, Magpie Murders is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction in which the reader becomes the detective.
- ISBN-13: 9780062645227
- ISBN-10: 0062645226
- Publisher: Harper
- Publish Date: June 2017
- Page Count: 496
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.55 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-02-06
- Reviewer: Staff
Bestseller Horowitz (The House of Silk) provides a treat for fans of golden age mysteries with this tour de force that both honors and pokes fun at the genre. In the prologue, an unnamed editor sets the tone by describing how reading the manuscript of Magpie Murders, the ninth novel in a bestselling mystery series by Alan Conway, cost her her job and many friendships. In the text of the manuscript itself (which is accompanied by a bio of Conway and blurbs from real-life authors Ian Rankin and Robert Harris), Poirot-like sleuth Atticus Pünd, a German concentration camp survivor who has settled in England, tackles an Agatha Christielike puzzle in 1955 Saxby-on-Avon. The verdict of accidental death seems warranted in the case of housekeeper and unrepentant busybody Mary Blakiston, who took a fatal fall down a flight of stairs at Pye Hall, since no one else was in the locked manor house at the time. But rumors that her estranged son wished Mary dead lead his fiancée to seek Pünd's help. The identity of the person responsible for Mary's death is but one of the questions Pünd must answer, and Horowitz throws in several wicked twists as the narrative builds to a highly satisfying explanation of the prologue. Agent: Jonathan Lloyd, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (June)
Cases for literature lovers
A pair of hair-raising whodunits aimed at bibliophiles are worthy of a top place on your summertime reading list.
Magpie Murders by screenwriter and bestselling author Anthony Horowitz (Moriarty) is a wickedly clever Agatha Christie-style novel within a novel. As editor Susan Ryeland reads through the manuscript for the ninth novel from her publishing house’s bestselling author, Alan Conway, she finds that his Magpie Murders is a crisp murder mystery set in the bucolic English village of Saxby-on-Avon, a town filled with Georgian stone homes and terraces, where you “didn’t need to read Jane Austen. If you stepped outside, you would find yourself actually in her world.”
In Conway’s story, local cleaning lady Mary Elizabeth Blakiston and the wealthy man she works for, Sir Magnus Pye, have both been killed inside Pye Hall. There is no shortage of suspects: Could it have been Pye’s sister who was cut out of the family fortune? The vicar who stands to lose his lovely view when Pye sells off his land for the construction of a cookie-cutter housing development? The son of the cleaning lady who was heard shouting at his mother just before her death? Conway’s brilliant London detective, Atticus Pünd, comes to the secretive town of Saxby-on-Avon for what might be his last investigation.
But the final chapters of the Magpie Murders manuscript are missing, and Conway is now out of the picture in a very unexpected way. Susan comes to suspect that the fictional manuscript holds a darker, real-life story. As life imitates art, Susan becomes a detective of sorts as she begins to interview Conway’s associates in order to piece together what really happened to him and discover where those lost chapters are hidden. Magpie Murders is brilliantly constructed, a thoroughly satisfying read that left me dazzled.
In Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, first-time author Matthew Sullivan creates a vivid world inside Denver’s Bright Ideas Bookstore, where 30-year-old Lydia Smith works and nurtures the store’s “BookFrogs,” damaged men who spend their days wandering the cozy aisles.
When one of the youngest BookFrogs, Joey Molina, hangs himself inside the store, it is Lydia who finds him. Joey leaves Lydia a set of books that contain coded messages within their pages. The discovery cracks open a long-held secret from her youth—the fact that she famously survived a brutal triple-murder while at a sleepover—and Lydia begins to unravel a horrifying connection between Joey and her traumatic past.
Sullivan, a former bookseller himself, weaves an intense, unsettling story. Joey is an enigmatic character, “haunted but harmless—a dust bunny blowing through the corners of the store.” And the flashbacks to that fateful night from Lydia’s childhood, narrated by her father, literally had me reminding myself to breathe.
Twisty and dark, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a remarkable debut novel that will leave readers unsettled and probably yearning to pay a visit to their local bookstore.