Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz
This fascinating book within a book (literally) will please fans of the author and also anyone who loves a substantial whodunit. Plenty of inside information about books, writers and publishing.
Anthony Horowitz is an experienced and popular author who has written stage plays, playscripts for TV, young adult novels and numerous adult books. His work is always anticipated with great excitement by those who are familiar with his clever plotting, skillful arrangement of the chess pieces of a murder mystery and the always satisfying outcomes of his whodunits. This is no exception.
Those fortunate enough to have read his previous work, Magpie Murders, will know he has an affinity for presenting a book within a book. A look into the world of writing and publishing affords numerous opportunities to complicate a plot in amusing and entertaining ways. Here there is literally a book within another: on page 228 the reader encounters the title page to Atticus Pund Takes the Case, an entirely independent mystery, the product of the mind of a character in the main text, who is also the author of the story told in Magpie. At page 225 of Atticus the principal tale resumes and continues until page 357 where it all ends. The total length is 582 pages, a satisfying and substantial read for mystery lovers who are not used to being treated to such a feast. There are many who rejoice upon seeing the bulk of this one, knowing that several evenings’ readings are at hand.
Another intriguing feature of this mystery is the use of the names of famous mystery writers as the surnames of characters. In Atticus the reader will find Chandler, Marsh, Pargeter, Gardner, Collins and several others. It is an amusing aside to watch for these and note to whom they refer. Also mentioned in the main text is George Saunders, one of the more notable contemporary writers (I happen to be reading one of his at this moment) and, again, keeping a lookout for these inclusions adds spice to the experience. It is a delightful inside joke for bibliophiles.
The actual mystery is tastefully complicated but not to the point of obscuring the plot. The careful revelation of clues and development of characters is deftly handled and to be admired by the veteran reader. It is altogether a fine crime novel and should be appreciated by fans of the genre.