Magpie Murders

Magpie Murders

Book - 2017
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After working with bestselling crime writer Alan Conway for years, editor Susan Ryeland is intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries in sleepy English villages. His 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 involves a murder at Pye Hall, with 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.
Publisher: New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2017
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780062645227
Branch Call Number: FICTION Hor
Description: 4, 213, 236 pages ; 24 cm


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Jul 14, 2020

Good old fashioned style mystery.

sapl3 Apr 09, 2020


Horowitz, perhaps best known for being the creator of two of the most popular TV series – Midsommer Murders and Foyle’s War– brings his talent to the page with this mystery, so reminiscent of Agatha Christie and her contemporaries. Cleverly written as a book within a book, Magpie Murders introduces us to the fictional detective, Atticus Pund, and his author, Alan Conway.

Conway’s editor, Sue Ryland, is in the process of editing his latest manuscript, and finds the usual aftermath from the violent death of one of the characters. But she senses an undertone that she cannot quite put her finger on. Could it be a case of life imitating art or vice versa?

We are treated to puzzles and delicious word-play, all the while being encouraged to tally up the clues to solve the mysteries that have been so cleverly depicted.

What a delightfully clever read this was!

Feb 24, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful mystery which contains not one but two mysteries. The first mystery involves a new manuscript from a mystery written, but unfortunately the ending has disappeared. The editor, Susan Ryeland, commences a search for the missing chapters, but before she starts, the author falls to his death and a suicide note arrives at the publishing company. I loved Susan’s search for the missing chapters and her search for the truth about the writer’s fall from a tower. Anthony Horowitz does an excellent job with the parallel characters in the mystery and in actual life. The setting also runs a parallel track between fiction and reality. So many red herrings in both versions of the whodunit mystery. I relish the description of clues and minute details, and lack of graphic details and foul language. Horowitz presents an anagram and links characters and places with other noted English mystery writers that impel a reader to reread those authors, again.

BPLpicks Dec 12, 2019

This had the vibe of a classic British mystery and It was a good fun read.

Sep 27, 2019

Two tales for the price of one! Horowitz offers an ingenious weaving of fact and fiction as a homage to the classic whodunit. We are first treated to a clever puzzle reasoned out by a sympathetic detective in a small English village with a host of interesting inhabitants, all of whom have good reason to kill one or the other of the two murder victims.

Then we are taken to the office of the story’s publishing house and into the lives of the book’s editor and its author. This gives Horowitz, author himself of a myriad of murder stories (Midsommers Murders, Foyle’s war etc), a chance to parse the whodunit for us.

During the course of the two stories, the reader gets insight into how a good murder mystery is written. Like some of my favorite novels, the book demystifies the craft of writing. Horowitz is an arresting story teller, who keeps you reading for answers until the very end.

I enjoyed both halves of the book equally, and although I successfully guessed the murderer in the last half of the book, I had no idea what the motive was. And I hadn’t a clue who done the dirty deed in the first half until the very last pages of the book, when the clever detective clarified everything for me. Lots of fun!

Aug 26, 2019

Tea & Talk Book Club / September 2018

Jun 15, 2019

2017; Harper/Harper Collins

This is one review I have started a few times, but do not know what to say that will give Magpie Murders real justice. This book has everything a reader could want - suspense, mystery, humour, crime, historical and contemporary settings, and brilliant characters. This is my first book by Anthony Horowitz, but not the first on my list. I am so happy I started with this one, but hope it doesn't increase my expectations too much that the other books aren't as good, lol.

This novel is a book within a book - an editor is reading a book - which is a very interesting and well executed plot. The "book" the editor reads is a bit like Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot which endeared me to the story even more. Atticus Pund, the detective in the "book", is such a great character that I kind of wish we could read the other stories in the imaginary series, lol. A prequel, maybe? I listened to this novel on audio and highly recommend it! Samantha Bond and Allan Cordunt really bring the characters to life and help to distinguish the historical and contemporary settings. This is a great novel for book clubs and groups or for friends to read together. You kind of need someone to discuss all the twists and "wtfs" with. I am excited to read more by Horowitz. Moriarty is one I am especially interested in after reading this one.

***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS***

Jun 10, 2019

Like most mystery readers, about halfway through this book, I felt shocked and confused. It’s a similar feeling to watching a movie and then having the screen go abruptly black. There’s a moment of disbelief and for me, despair. It slowly occurred to me that this whodunit narration and story direction changed - this could be the real mystery and the real story, maybe. Horowitz is such a clever writer by creating an ingenious hook drawing the reader in with a desire to want to know where it’s all going and how will it end – will the real mystery be solved?!

Jun 02, 2019

The author immediately transports you, the listener, to a very English village complete with busy bodies, gossips, snoops, and perhaps a poisoner…but the murders don’t end there. Is the obvious cause of death the actual cause of death? To complete the picture, a young woman comes to beg the help of an elderly detective who is not as well as he appears which adds urgency to arriving at the solution. Will he be up for one last case to solve?

This tale doesn’t end where you would expect. There are further twists and turns that will lead you to listen again from disc one to see where you missed any clues to whether another death - a suicide - was actually a murder. The character’s convincingly argue both sides. Hmmmm……

The readers, Samantha Bond and Allan Corduner, amply contribute to the telling of this tale by the author. Their voice talents skillfully help set the scene for a very British cozy mystery.

What a treat! What a surprise! Great plot twist and not where you would expect it. The author artfully paints descriptions of character and place. He does this through revealing the villagers thoughts as they are readying themselves for the murder victim’s funeral. Each reveal leads the listener to wonder if this person is the murderer - lacking alibi but having motive. He ties the beginning and the end together in a neat bow. I won’t disclose what the plot twists are, but power through this story and you diligence will pay off!

Mar 20, 2019

Magpie Murders by Alan Horowitz is a successful homage to the Golden Age of Detective Fiction (i.e. British whodunits, Agatha Christie). Magpie Murders is a mystery within a mystery that concerns a manuscript with the last chapter missing. The protagonist, the book’s editor, is trying to find the last chapter to solve the ‘fictional’ mystery when she comes across a larger ‘real-life’ puzzle regarding the manuscript’s author. This may seem very convoluted, but the execution is better than my summary. I thought this was an ingenious take in a genre that’s been parodied and overdone. This is because Horowitz focuses in on the anatomy of a classic mystery while presenting a new mystery himself. Be warned though, Magpie Murders is long, with ~250 pages being devoted to each mystery (500 pages total), but its also full of clues, red herrings, and references to Agatha Christie on every page. The novel is also very British and parts are written in the 20th century’s distinct style of detective fiction, which I enjoyed as a break from the current types of contemporary mystery. Overall, if you miss that era of detective fiction, I recommend Magpie Murders.

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