This book reminds me very much of the 1939 Winston Churchill quote: “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…”. Although Churchill was speaking of Russia at the time, this particular section of the quote is such an appropriate description of Anthony Horowitz’s book Magpie Murders that it is the first thing I thought of when trying to find the words to start this review.
An historical mystery set in the 1950’s pays homage to Agatha Christie. What makes this book thoroughly enjoyable however is that the historical mystery is wrapped within a modern day “whodunit”. That does not mean that the nods to Christie stop in the modern mystery - in fact, her real-life grandson, Mathew Pritchard, makes a cameo as a witness who overhears an important conversation that could be key to solving the entire puzzle. For those familiar with Agatha Christie’s story, Mathew Pritchard is the son of Christie’s only child, Rosalind, and famously received the stage rights to The Mousetrap as a ninth birthday present from his grandmother.
It really is two books in one as we read along with editor Susan Ryeland who has received the manuscript for author Alan Conway’s latest novel featuring Atticus Pünd, a german-born detective who solves mysteries in sleepy English villages in the 1950’s. I was engrossed enough in this first mystery that I was as equally horrified as Susan when we realized that the final chapter of the story was missing. Can a mystery lover imagine anything worse? This starts the modern day investigation as Susan sets out to locate the missing pages.
A must read for any mystery fan, this is a smart and cleverly twisted take on the “whodunit”. Why are you still reading this? Go out and get this book…….you won’t regret it!