#836: A Line to Kill (2021) by Anthony Horowitz

A Line to Kill

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Those of us who love a mystery that actually provides clues, hints, indications, and pointers towards a solution we might have had a chance of anticipating were we canny enough have found much to enjoy in the recent career of Anthony Horowitz. Magpie Murders (2016) contains a piece of audacious clewing up there with the best the Golden Age had to offer, and its sequel Moonflower Murders (2020) is rich in such matters. And the Daniel Hawthorne novels, in which a fictionalised version of Horowitz plays Watson to Hawthorne’s vaguely mysterious Holmes, have been less traditional, but no less clever in how they’ve misdirected.

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In GAD We Trust – Episode 23: What’s in a Watson? [w’ Caroline Crampton]

The companion of the fictional detective — the “stupid friend” as Ronald Knox styled them — is something I have spent far too long thinking about, mainly because the protoype is always taken to be Sherlock Holmes’ chronicler Dr. John H. Watson. Joining me this week to discuss why that might not always be a good comparison to draw is Caroline Crampton of the superb Shedunnit podcast.

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In GAD We Trust – Episode 16: Modern Writers in the Golden Age Tradition [w’ Puzzle Doctor @ In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel]

Let’s get the new year off to a happy start by showing some appreciation for contemporary authors who make life difficult for themselves by upholding the traditions of Golden Age detective fiction in their own works. And, if you want to discuss modern detective fiction, few are better-placed than Puzzle Doctor, a.k.a. Steve from In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel.

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#475: The Sentence is Death (2018) by Anthony Horowitz

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Having gotten so successfully into the skin of Dr. John H. Watson for his Sherlock Holmes tale The House of Silk (2011), Anthony Horowitz has now found a Watson whose skin fits even better: himself.  And if Horowitz is to be Watson, he needs a Holmes — a role obligingly filled by the brilliantly perceptive ex-D.I. Daniel Hawthorne, a man as private as he is borderline-unlikable, who is parachuted into cases which run the risk of sticking around for a while and making the Metropolitan Police Force’s statistics look bad.  And with Horowitz as his chronicler, it’s to be hoped that any cases they meet will require at least 80,000 words to solve…

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#314: The Word is Murder (2017) by Anthony Horowitz

cover100π posts was always going to be a special one for me, and it’s the perfect opportunity to dive into the latest from Anthony Horowitz, a man who in recent years has — thanks to The House of Silk (2011), Moriarty (2014), and Magpie Murders (2016) — become something of a favourite among fans of detective fiction.  He spoke at a signing I attended recently about the joy of  being able to discover his own voice as a writer (he also wrote an official James Bond novel, with another one imminent), and it’s unsurprising to find him — now that he can have things completely his own way — involved once again in the exploration of structure shown not just in Magpie Murders but also his oft-neglected The Killing Joke (2004).

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#162: The Tuesday Night Bloggers – Meta-Fictional Historical Deconstruction in Magpie Murders (2016) by Anthony Horowitz


Anthony Horowitz is probably my favourite contemporary author of detective fiction, as his superb Sherlock Holmes novel The House of Silk (2011) and its genuinely exceptional follow-up Moriarty (2013) displayed an affinity for both the milieu of Holmes and the necessary misdirection and construction of a blistering plot that blindsides you at will which seems to elude many who try to walk this path these days.  His earlier novel The Killing Joke (2004) isn’t really detective fiction per se, but shows a playfulness with narrative that is aware of many of the tropes of genre fiction and is worth mentioning here precisely because of how much it foreshadowed the work he does in Magpie Murders when it comes to deconstructing the classical detective and his ilk.

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