Horowitz his own suspect in new thriller
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That devilishly clever murder mystery author Anthony Horowitz has finally got his comeuppance — he’s the prime suspect in the brutal murder of a vile theatre critic, and the police have the goods to put him away for life.
His fingerprints are on the murder weapon, his DNA is at the scene, Horowitz is on CCTV in the vicinity at the time of the murder, witnesses say he threatened the woman who’d just trashed his play Mindgame.
This is the fourth joyously complex murder mystery in which Horowitz has self-deprecatingly presented himself as first-person narrator, a bumbling Watson to (fictional?) former cop Hawthorne’s enigmatically brilliant Holmes.
(Real-life) author Anthony Horowitz has revelled in the incredible TV adaptation of his extraordinary novel Magpie Murders. He created the Foyle’s War detective TV series, adapted Caroline Graham’s Midsomer Murders for TV and has written a series of delightful murder mysteries such as Moonflower Murders.
They’re complicated — Horowitz expects you to be paying attention.
He actually wrote a play called Mindgame, though it was in 1999, had successful runs and was well-received by critics. Not herein.
The book’s Mindgame has done well in small towns, where it’s suggested audiences are less demanding. Now it’s opening night in the west end of London, everyone’s nervous, the cast is uniformly eccentric and eclectic and despicable critic Harriet Throsby is in the house, poison pen poised.
Next morning, Throsby is dead — not a spoiler, the book jacket gives it away, and you can see it coming when she absolutely destroys the play, the playwright and all the players in her review, which brings new meaning to the word “scathing.”
She has the clout to close a play, bankrupting the producers and financial backers. Oh, goody, more suspects with a motive.
Throsby is utterly detested by everyone who knows her, including her husband and daughter. She gleefully destroys lives and careers.
Back when Throsby was a newspaper crime reporter, she wrote true crime books which, shall we say, strayed beyond basic truth? Could anyone be seeking revenge?
Throsby wanted to become a theatre critic, and immediately did so when the paper’s theatre critic most unfortunately died of food poisoning while dining with her. Golly.
Pretty much everyone we’ve met has a motive to kill Throsby, and everyone lacks an airtight alibi for the time she met her final curtain. But it’s Horowitz to whom all the evidence points, and it’s Horowitz whom the police remember as the author of the three previous books in which Hawthorne made them look stupid.
Horowitz is still a precariously free man as the police await lab reports that will guarantee a guilty verdict, and our clueless Watson chronicles the cryptic Hawthorne as he strives to Sherlock the real killer while infuriatingly keeping his conclusions to himself.
Would it ever climax with all the suspects gathered on the stage, the police watching Hawthorne explain all?
Now that would be entertaining, eh?
Retired Free Press reporter Nick Martin cringes whenever any newspaper person gets murdered. No author has ever murdered a book reviewer, right? Right?