By Anthony Horowitz
Harper, 2017, 236 pages, 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 Pund, 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. But the more Susan reads Alan’s latest manuscript, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden its pages: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.
This book is a great homage to classic mystery novels with a modern twist. Horowitz obviously knows the elements that make a classic whodunit successful, and he turns some of these elements on their heads to make a really compelling read. While Atticus Pund reminded me a lot of Hercule Poirot, Susan Ryeland seems like a character you would find in a novel by Paula Hawkins or Ruth Ware: a modern woman forced to solve the mystery on her own. I’m a big fan of classic mysteries, so the Atticus Pund storyline was a bit more interesting to me, but Susan’s storyline held my interest as well, and the way everything tied up in the end was highly satisfying.