The Word is Murder

By Anthony Horowitz

A healthy, well-to-do woman in her sixties walks into an undertaker’s office. She wants to make arrangements for her own funeral. Six hours later, Diana Cowper is dead, strangled with a curtain tie in her own living room.

The Metropolitan Police suspect it’s a burglary gone awry. But Daniel Hawthorne, once a Metropolitan Police detective, now disgraced and working as a consultant, thinks otherwise. Especially when her son, the famous actor Damian Cowper, is slashed to death before her wake even gets into full swing.

Hawthorne has a sidekick in his investigation of Diana Cowper’s murder: Anthony Horowitz. Yes, dear reader, the author of this novel is also its narrator and protagonist.

In the fine tradition of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Horowitz is Hawthorne’s Dr. Watson.

The two Horowitzes have the same professional biographies. Hawthorne’s case takes Horowitz away from solving knotty problems in scripts for “Foyle’s War.” Hawthorne and Horowitz meet when Horowitz was serving as a police consultant for “Injustice,” a TV series that Horowitz was writing.

Now, Hawthorne has decided they should become 50-50 partners and make some money with Horowitz writing up Hawthorne’s investigations.

Like Holmes, Hawthorne is keenly observant, a deductive reasoner as well as being unsociable and opinionated, often offensively. Like Dr. Watson, Horowitz is a recorder, questioner and the author of the published version of the investigation.

While this odd blend of factual reality and fiction can be mind-bending at times, it’s great fun. The factual elements actually make the fictional ones seem more real.

This is a great mystery story creatively told by a master story-teller. I enjoyed it much more than Horowitz’s earlier mystery, MAGPIE MURDERS. That was a mystery embedded in a mystery and has lots of fun facts about mystery writers from the Golden Age of British Detection Fiction. Regretfully, I’m no longer the fan of puzzle mysteries such as Agatha Christie’s as I once was.

THE WORD IS MURDER (2017) is the first Hawthorne and Horowitz mystery.  It was followed by  THE SENTENCE IS DEATH (2018) and A LINE TO KILL  (2021).

About the Author: Anthony Horowitz, OBE (1955 – )

Anthony Horowitz is a prolific and award-winning author of novels for adults and children, plays and television. He was selected in 2014 by the estate of Ian Flemming to continue the James Bond series and by the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle in 2011 to write a new Sherlock Holmes novel.

He wrote most of the episodes of the early seasons of the television series “Midsomer Murders” and was the creator and writer of the ITV series “Foyle’s War,” “Collision” and “Injustice.”

Over the past 20 years, he’s written a series featuring teenage spy Alex Rider. He has also written graphic  novels, films and a play.

He lives in Central London with his wife Jill Green, who is a producer for “Foyle’s War.” He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2014 for his services to literature.


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