Book 4 in the Hawthorne and Horowitz Investigate series
After the events of A Line to Kill, Anthony Horowitz’s reluctant partnership with irascible detective Daniel Hawthorne is complete, and Horowitz is free to pursue a lifelong dream: having one of his plays produced in London’s West End. But when someone is violently murdered after the play’s opening night, Horowitz is the prime suspect. His only hope is that Hawthorne can find the true killer and clear his name within 48 hours.
- Completely engaging, even among Horowitz’s consistently entertaining and readable mystery novels
- The revelation that I consider to be “the twist” — the real reason someone framed Horowitz for murder — was really cleverly done. I never guessed the truth at all, but the clues were all there for the observant reader.
- Does a great job of juggling lots of sub-plots and individual character intrigue, which serve as kind of a “consolation prize” for piecing together the minor stories, even if you don’t figure out the central mystery.
- Great balance between good, old-fashioned murder mystery and the meta-gimmick that serves as the premise of the entire series. There’s just enough of the real world to remind the reader that this is ostensibly non-fiction, but not so much that it overwhelms or distracts from the rest of the mystery.
- Feels like Horowitz has perfectly hit his stride with this series. There are very few of the weird shifts in tone that were in the other books — descriptions of a violent crime scene, a character’s unexpected homophobia, which were presumably included to make the novel read more like true crime.
- The case against Horowitz isn’t at all convincing, and I had a hard time believing any prosecutor would ever be willing to take it to court. This undercut the tension and honestly made the book feel slightly juvenile.
- Horowitz has settled on the characterization of himself in this book as being famous and successful enough to be frequently recognized but never respected. I should be used to it by now, but it still comes across as more artificial and a bit annoying instead of self-effacing and charming. (On the other hand, if he’d just gone with “best-selling author with long-running book and TV series” would probably be insufferable).
- Hawthorne is a little less unlikeable in this one, but I still find the character too irritating to be at all interesting.
The most consistently entertaining and engaging book of the series so far. It doesn’t have the weird novelty of the first book, but it also doesn’t have the strange shifts in tone. I’m clearly hooked on this series, even if I only like or care about one of the main characters.