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…
After a month of possibly pie-in-the-sky hoping (hey, a full reprint of someone may be right around the corner, you never know…), let’s finish on a more positive note. This week, stuff that’s actually happening in the future and about which I have many reasons to be hopeful.
100π 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).
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.