You’ve probably heard of it, in TIME or elsewhere. The great mystery book of the season, reminiscent of Agatha Christie.
Magpie Murders is two versions of the same story. A detective, a professional in one and a professional editor in the other, investigates the murder of an unpopular rich man. There are plenty of suspects and red herrings. There are codes you can solve if you know the geography of England and the works of gay writers.
The only thing that made this good work a not-great work is that the author thinks his work is better than he thinks it is. Horowitz flaunted it, claiming it was a first draft when it clearly wasn’t, though it wasn’t shiny as a final. The editor’s part is better edited than the author’s, but it wasn’t as polished as it could have been, prolonging the amusing-in-a-sad-way pain.
Not that the book was painful as a whole, it was one of the best books I’ve read in a while. (The while being full of bad books) The murders were well detailed, and I love it when you get a glimpse of the publishing world. It reminded me of Afterworlds, in which Scott Westerfeld alternated between a writer and the necromance book she wrote.
I recommend it if you’ve read And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie. A lot of his references come from there and if it’s one of few mysteries you read I want you to read the superior to better understand the capacity of mystery.