Author: Anthony Horowitz
Publishing Date: 15 September 2020
Country: Greece/ England
“Everything in life has a pattern and a coincidence is simply the moment when the pattern becomes briefly visible.”
I was extremely excited to get my hands on Anthony Horowitz’s latest mystery Moonflower Murders. It’s the sequel to Magpie Murders and features the literary detective and editor Susan Reyland. Moonflower Murders follows the same concept of Magpie Murders, i.e a book within a book! If you’ve read Magpie Murders, you’ll know what I mean.
It’s safe to say that Moonflower Murders is quite a clever piece of literary mystery. It’s quite obvious to anyone who has read Anthony Horowitz’s crime novels that he’s a great admirer of Agatha Christie. The Moonflower Murders is also written in the same style as Golden Age Detective fiction.
The story of Moonflower Murder starts in Greece. Susan Reyland, after the events of Magpie Murders, has relocated to Crete to start a hotel with her Partner Andrias. However, the idyllic setting of Crete does not have the expected effect on Susan. The running of the hotel is taking a toll on Susan and Andreas’s relationship and she misses working in London. So one day Susan is approached by a wealthy couple, Pauline and Lawrence Trehearne. They own an exclusive hotel called Branlow Hall in Suffolk, England. They want Susan to investigate the disappearance of their elder daughter Cecily. Susan feels that this is just what she needs to do.
The Trhearnes explain that eight years ago, a guest named Frank Parris was brutally murdered. It happened on the wedding day of Cecily and Aidan MacNeil. The police arrested Stefan Cordescu, a Romanian immigrant with a criminal record, who worked as a handyman in the hotel. Cecily had called her parents a day before she vanished, claiming that she had proof that Stefan was innocent and she knew the identity of the real killer. Cecily discovers this information in Alan Conway’s crime novel ‘Atticus Pund Takes The Case’, featuring his post-war German detective. This story is quite obviously based on Parris’s murder and is also scattered with clues referring to the identity of the murderer. The Trehearnes approach Susan because she was Alan’s editor for his Atticus Pund series. The rest of the story of Moonflower Murders is how Susan examines a host of suspects and re-reads Atticus Pund Takes The Case to find out the murderer.
I find Horowitz’s writing style engaging. The investigation in Moonflower Murders is complex, with several characters becoming suspects. There are plenty of Easter eggs in the book to keep the reader guessing. Horowitz’s style of writing a book within book is simply riveting. Susan Reyland may seem amateur to many readers but she’s tenacious and determined. Moonflower Murders ends in the classic Christie style: all the suspects gathered in a room for the final reveal.
Moonflower Murders is a highly enjoyable read. I’d love to see more of Susan Reyland and Atticus Pund. Readers who loved Magpie Murders, will definitely enjoy this book.
Read more reviews of books by Anthony Horowitz here.