Moonflower Murder by Anthony Horowitz #BookReview

Featuring his famous literary detective Atticus Pund and Susan Ryeland, hero of the worldwide bestseller Magpie Murders, a brilliantly complex literary thriller by Anthony Horowitz. The follow-up to Magpie Murders.

Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is living the good life. She is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her longterm boyfriend Andreas. It should be everything she’s always wanted – but is it? She’s exhausted with the responsibilities of making everything work on an island where nothing ever does, and truth be told she’s beginning to miss her old life in London.

And then a couple – the Trehearnes – come to stay, and the story they tell about an unfortunate murder that took place on the same day and in the same hotel in which their daughter was married, is such a strange and mysterious one that Susan finds herself increasingly fascinated by it. And when the Trehearnes tell her that their daughter is now missing, Susan knows that she must return to London and find out what really happened …

Title: Moonflower Murders | Author: Anthony Horowitz | Series: Susan Ryeland #2 | Publisher: Century | Pages: 400 | ISBN: 9781529124347 | Publication date: 20th August 2020 | Source: NetGalley

I was nervous starting ‘Moonflower Murders’ for two reasons. I really liked the first book in the series, ‘Magpie Murders’ with its ingenious book within a book format and its affectionate dissection of the mystery genre, but I had no idea how Anthony Horowitz could pull off the same trick again without it feeling forced. Secondly, I loved his first Sherlock Holmes novel, ‘The House of Silk’, but found the follow up ‘Moriarty’ a dull and confusing mess. Fortunately, I needn’t have worried. I’m not sure ‘Moonflower Murders’ is quite as good as the book that preceded it, but it is a credible and very enjoyable sequel.

It’s set a couple of years after ‘Magpie Murders’, with book editor turned sleuth pulled out of her relatively normal life when a couple approach her asking to investigate a murder. The crime took place a few years ago at the hotel they run, with one of the staff convicted for it. However, recent events, and a secret hidden in a book by none other than Alan Conway have caused them to doubt the conviction. It’s a fairly elegant way to set things up for a double mystery in the style of the first book. Again we get both a “real” mystery investigated by Susan, and a fictional one featuring Conway’s creation, Atticus Pünd.

‘Moonflower Murders’ is another very enjoyable novel from Horowitz. It’s populated with twists and turns, a bit of politics (around the demonisation of Eastern European immigrants by the tabloid press), romance, humour and good old fashioned murder mysteries. What it lacks, compared to the first book, is a deeper examination of the crime genre. Perhaps Horowitz felt he’d already covered that, and to be fair he had, quite brilliantly. The book feels slightly inferior to its predecessor because of that, but that’s not to say it isn’t a great read. Whether Horowitz can pull off the same trick a third time remains to be scene, but I certainly hope he tries.


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