Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz: A Book Review

Magpie Murders which book to read first
Title: Magpie Murders
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Year Published: 2017
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Obtained: Public Library

Synopsis: Atticus Pünd is the lead detective in the Atticus Pünd best-selling murder mystery series written by Alan Conway. His book editor, Susan Ryeland, has just finished reading his newest novel, Magpie Murders, but realizes that the last few chapters are missing. The next day, Alan Conway is dead, supposedly by suicide. At first, Susan works to find the missing chapters so the book can still be published. But she soon realizes that she has become like Atticus Pünd, hunting down who she believes killed Alan Conway. What she finds changes her life forever.

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I have approached this book review numerous times with many different drafts, unsure of the best way to review it. Essentially, this is a book within a book. Rather than discuss the many different plot lines that will eventually lead to confusion, I’ll just go straight into my conclusion.

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A Book Within a Book

This book can get a bit confusing. The actual book you are reading is called Magpie Murders, and the fictional book that you read within this book is also called Magpie Murders. Essentially, you get two books in one. At first, this seriously intrigued me. The thought of stepping into the shoes of a book editor is very appealing. But then I started to get confused.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved this book immensely. The two stories are fantastically written, with two distinct writing styles to help differentiate between the two plots. It was all executed very well, it just took me some time to get used to the idea.

Conclusion

I have two qualms about this book. First of all, the page numbers were separated between the two plots. Once you finish reading the first half (which is the fictional Magpie Murders), the page numbers begin again as we read about Susan’s adventures. It’s not a huge issue, but it didn’t help with my confusion. In addition, at the end of the first section with the fictional Magpie Murders, we are left hanging due to the missing chapters just like Susan is. By the end of the book, we get to read those missing chapters. I just felt that by this point, I wasn’t as invested in the fictional book because of all the other characters and plot of the second half. Again, it wasn’t too big a deal, and I understand the reasoning behind it.

This book takes you back to Agatha Christie and other murder mystery writers of the past. I’ve never been a fan of these murder/mystery whodunnits to begin with, but the concept of this book had me fascinated since it wasn’t a format I was used to. I had to try it, and I’m glad I did.

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Ratings

Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars (Just a few issues that weren’t too concerning.)
Storyline: 4 stars (It got a bit confusing for me at times.)
Characters: 5 stars (Everyone has a motive for murder in this book!)
Setting: 4 stars (A small English village where everyone knows your business.)
Reading Pace: 5 stars (I kept on reading well into the night!)

Memorable Quote: “Murder changed everything. It broke the gentle rhythm of life. It turned neighbor against neighbor. Suddenly nobody was to be trusted and doors which were usually left open at night were locked. Murder was an act of vandalism, a brick thrown at a picture window, and somehow it was his job to put together the pieces.”