Magpie Murders

Magpie Murders

Book - 2017
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Moriarty and Trigger Mortis, this fiendishly brilliant, riveting thriller weaves a classic whodunit worthy of Agatha Christie into a chilling, ingeniously original modern-day mystery. When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she's intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus P#65533;nd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan's 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 has Atticus P#65533;nd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are 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. Masterful, clever, and relentlessly suspenseful, Magpie Murders is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction in which the reader becomes the detective.
Publisher: New York : HarperLuxe, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062670977
Branch Call Number: LT MYSTERY HOROW
Characteristics: 330 pages (large print) ; 23 cm


From Library Staff

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life. She's worked with the revered crime writer for years and his detective, Atticus Pund, is renowned for solving crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s. ... Read More »

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life. She's worked with the revered crime writer for years and his detective, Atticus Pund, is renowned for solving crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s. ... Read More »

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Feb 15, 2018

A fun throwback to golden-age English mysteries . Book editor Susan sits down to read the manuscript for the latest novel featuring fictional detective Atticus Pund. We read along with her, but as the story speeds along to a climax, Susan discovers that the final pages of the manuscript are missing, Susan's publisher boss has received a suicide letter from author Alan Conway, and he has been found dead. As Susan tries to find the missing manuscript, she begins to suspect Conway may not have ended his own life.

The literary mystery reminds me of A.S Byatt's novel Possession (one of my all-time favorites) as different documents offer clues to Conway's life and possible motives for his death. The plot is highlighted by comedic glimpses into the world of contemporary publishing, including the real life grandson of Agatha Christie as a character, the premise of an author trapped by his own success, and ruminations on whether murder mysteries are literature or junk.

But I found Susan to be a disappointing protagonist. It seemed unbelievable for a book editor to be more interested in her amateur murder investigation than in tracking down the missing manuscript. And the choice she made to resolve her personal life was a letdown.

When we finally do read the once missing pages, the ending to the Atticus Pund mystery is quite clever. I was able to guess both "whodunnits" , but was surprised by additional plot twists related to motive. Though the motive for Alan Conway's murder is a bit silly, it leads to a highly suspenseful climax.

A cautionary note for E-Readers: make sure to begin reading at the "Magpie Murders" title page or at the table of contents. My digital copy loaded and opened at the title page for Alan Conway's manuscript, bypassing the "Crouch End, London" chapter.

Feb 13, 2018

I feel as if this novel should come with a disclaimer. It would go something like this: "Warning, the book you are about to read requires a surplus of long-suffering from its reader." The interruptions are jarring, but the novel is so brilliant I could not rate it anything under 4.5 stars. You have been warned ;)

Jan 28, 2018

This thriller is great if you loved Gone Girl or Girl on the Train. It's about Susan Ryeland who's an editor for a bestselling mystery novel writer. But she soon believes that this may be about real life. What I like about this book is that the main character is an everyman, she's relatable to most of her readers because she doesn't really know what she's doing.
- @Florence of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Jan 10, 2018

I liked the enveloping story better than the Atticus Pund novel in the center. I never did care much for Agatha Christie and Pund was another in the Hercule Periot mold.

Dec 29, 2017

Anthony Horowitz is definitely in the running for next in succession of the famous British mystery and suspense novel authors of AC Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot), and Ian Fleming (James Bond) . For mystery fans, this one, a mystery about a mystery book, is a must. The outer novella provides enough clear clues -- hidden amongst red herrings of course -- that if read carefully, it can be solved by the reader. The inner novella, it's not quite so reader solvable. The detective has access to clues the reader doesn't. But even the inner novella, if the logic is carefully followed, the solution of who did it can be narrowed down by the reader to two or three persons from the dozen or so potential candidates. Very much recommended, both in the book form and in the audio book format.

ontherideau Nov 09, 2017

Magpie Murders is a wild merry go round that throws the reader off and then slows down to let us back on. A book within a book and a motive for everyone.

Oct 02, 2017

Susan Ryeland receives the latest whodunit from her top mystery writer without the last chapter or the author. The current mystery in Part 2 is a better read than Alan Conway’s in Part 1, which is riddled with red herrings and 1955 reading Victorian. Save your sleuthing for the fuller characters, and it’s fun and solvable.

Sep 19, 2017

A mystery in a mystery---a perfect plot forces an editor to solve the mystery of a cantankerous mystery author when she is asked to read his latest and last book. The problem lies in the missing last chapter and leads to her becoming more involved in British mysteries than she ever expected.

Sep 16, 2017

For those who love mysteries—and I very much belong in this category— Magpie Murders is a double treat. It is a mystery within a mystery, a classic whodunit within a whodunit. You can read my full take on it at:

Sep 09, 2017

I gave this book five stars for a lot of reasons such as originality (it was certainly that), plot (there were a plethora of those), and the tenacity to put plots within plots within plots. However, it was for me an exhausting book to read. I have read many of the classic whodoneit authors and I am comfortable with the body in the library to begin with and the sleuth outlining the solution to the mystery (if there ever was one). Some are very clever (PD James), some are witty (DL Sayers) and some are simplistic (A Christie). In this book Horowitz plays all the games to the point that it was on the verge of becoming a bit tiresome. But I persisted and his writing skills prevailed. My only advice is if you are a slow reader such as I, plan plenty of time for this book. It ends, and ends and ends.

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