Title: Moonflower Murders
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Published: 18th August 2020
Synopsis: Featuring his famous literary detective Atticus Pund and Susan Ryeland, hero of the worldwide bestseller Magpie Murders, a brilliantly complex literary thriller by Anthony Horowitz. The follow-up to Magpie Murders. A labyrinth of clues. A mystery novel hiding a deadly secret. A killer with a fiendish plot: a brilliantly intricate and original thriller from the bestselling author of Magpie Murders,
‘A beautiful puzzle: fiendishly clever and hugely entertaining. A masterpiece.’ Lucy Foley, author of The Hunting Party
Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her long-term boyfriend. But life isn’t as idyllic as it should be: exhausted by the responsibility of making everything work on an island where nothing ever does, Susan is beginning to miss her literary life in London – even though her publishing career once entangled her in a lethal literary murder plot.
So when an English couple come to visit with tales of a murder that took place in a hotel the same day their daughter Cecily was married there, Susan can’t help but find herself fascinated.
And when they tell her that Cecily has gone missing a few short hours after reading Atticus Pund Takes The Case, a crime novel Susan edited some years previously, Susan knows she must return to London to find out what has happened.
The clues to the murder and to Cecily’s disappearance must lie within the pages of this novel.
But to save Cecily, Susan must place her own life in mortal danger…Want to read more Atticus Pund and Susan Ryeland? Order a copy of Sunday Times bestseller and the #1 ebook bestseller MAGPIE MURDERS, out now.
Moonflower Murders brings the mysteries of Magpie Murders back after a four-year interlude. Susan Ryeland is now retired, living in Greece and running a hotel with partner, Andreas. Yet Alan Conway and his final novel, Atticus Pünd Takes the Case, are back to haunt her when the Trehernes come to her to help them find Cecily, their daughter. They’re convinced that the editor of the last book Cecily read can help them, as the events fictionalised in the book happened at the same place Cecily got married. And so the mystery within a mystery begins.
The first third of the book is Susan’s story as she travels from Greece to London to help the Treherne family, where she is drawn back into the world of Alan and his detective. In this novel however, we get a treat. The manuscript referred to in the first book is ‘published’ in this book as part of the story – the novel within a novel that is at the heart of Magpie Murders and Moonflower Murders.
This book builds on the cozy crime genre, first with Susan’s story, and second, with the Attius Pünd novel that she reads, and that readers get to read in rea; time, so to speak, with her. The clues to the case are cleverly peppered throughout both Susan’s story and Conway’s novel, which is also set out just like a published novel – a nod to the publishing world and the metafiction aspect of this novel and series that Horowitz has cleverly created, whilst paying homage to the Golden Age of crime fiction – Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle and so many others that have shaped the crime fiction genre.
This self-referential work – to the crime genre, the publishing world and writing in general, also uses word play to tell this story. It allows Anthony to explore the story in a unique yet classical way that suits the story and plot, and when read all together, makes sense. The clues are subtle enough for the reveal to be a surprise, yet at the same time, honours and uses the tropes that are well-known in crime fiction yet feels fresh and unique at the same time.
I’d recommend reading Magpie Murders first. Otherwise, you may be confused whilst reading this one, and some aspects won’t fit in nicely. It follows on well from the second, and takes place in a pre-COVID world, around 2015. This ensures the story takes place unhindered by the current pandemic, so the characters can move freely. I really enjoyed this one and think fans of the series and Anthony Horowitz will enjoy it.