Book Reviews

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

I’ve read a few Anthony Horowitz novels at this point. I don’t really know how I picked up Magpie Murders, but it’s what started by Horowitz obsession. He’s another one that I will just pick up if I see it. In fact, I bought a book at Costco that I thought I hadn’t read yet…NOPE! I had indeed rented it from the library a couple of years ago. Whoops! I knew that Moonflower Murders was new, so I was definitely excited to read it.

The Story

Featuring his famous literary detective Atticus Pund and Susan Ryeland, hero of the worldwide bestseller Magpie Murders, a brilliantly complex literary thriller with echoes of Agatha Christie from New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz.

Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is living the good life. She is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her long-term boyfriend Andreas. It should be everything she’s always wanted. But is it? She’s exhausted with the responsibilities of making everything work on an island where nothing ever does, and truth be told she’s beginning to miss London.

And then the Trehearnes come to stay. The strange and mysterious story they tell, about an unfortunate murder that took place on the same day and in the same hotel in which their daughter was married—a picturesque inn on the Suffolk coast named Farlingaye Halle—fascinates Susan and piques her editor’s instincts. 

One of her former writers, the late Alan Conway, author of the fictional Magpie Murders, knew the murder victim—an advertising executive named Frank Parris—and once visited Farlingaye Hall. Conway based the third book in his detective series, Atticus Pund Takes the Cake, on that very crime. 

The Trehearne’s, daughter, Cecily, read Conway’s mystery and believed the book proves that the man convicted of Parris’s murder—a Romanian immigrant who was the hotel’s handyman—is innocent. When the Trehearnes reveal that Cecily is now missing, Susan knows that she must return to England and find out what really happened.

Brilliantly clever, relentlessly suspenseful, full of twists that will keep readers guessing with each revelation and clue, Moonflower Murders is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction from one of its greatest masterminds, Anthony Horowitz.

My Thoughts

It has been a few years since I read Magpie Murders, so I had forgotten both the format and a lot of what happened in the book. There were a few allusions in to the first Susan Ryeland book, but you can certainly read Moonflower Murders without missing too much of the story.

Along those lines, I forgot that the premise of these books is that it’s a book within a book. Horowitz has created a fictional author who wrote a book, and that book leaves behind clues for solving the mystery. It’s like Agatha Christie-inception (but not quite as good as Christie).

Moonflower Murders was a delightful mystery read. As light as murder can be, it kept me engaged and I really enjoyed the story. I did not pick out who it was in the end, which is always a mark of a good mystery to me.

One thing that I really enjoyed in this book was Ryeland’s character working through the mystery and the editing process of the Conway novel. It was almost as if Horowitz was projecting some of his own editorial process into the book. It was cool to read!

Overall, Moonflower Murders was just enjoyable. There was no bad. If you want a book that’s going to change your life, however, this is not that book.

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