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Magpie Murders
Cover of Magpie Murders
Magpie Murders
A Novel

"Magpie Murders is a double puzzle for puzzle fans, who don't often get the classicism they want from contemporary thrillers." —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

From the New York Times bestselling author of Moriarty and Trigger Mortis, this fiendishly brilliant, riveting thriller weaves a classic whodunit worthy of Agatha Christie into a chilling, ingeniously original modern-day mystery.

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she's intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan's traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

Conway's latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she's convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

Masterful, clever, and relentlessly suspenseful, Magpie Murders is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction in which the reader becomes the detective.

"Magpie Murders is a double puzzle for puzzle fans, who don't often get the classicism they want from contemporary thrillers." —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

From the New York Times bestselling author of Moriarty and Trigger Mortis, this fiendishly brilliant, riveting thriller weaves a classic whodunit worthy of Agatha Christie into a chilling, ingeniously original modern-day mystery.

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she's intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan's traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

Conway's latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she's convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

Masterful, clever, and relentlessly suspenseful, Magpie Murders is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction in which the reader becomes the detective.

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About the Author-
  • Anthony Horowitz is the author of the New York Times bestseller Moriarty and the inter- nationally bestselling The House of Silk, as well as the New York Times bestselling Alex Rider series for young adults. As a television screenwriter, he created Midsomer Murders and the BAFTA-winning Foyle's War, both of which were featured on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery. He regularly contributes to a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines, and in January 2014 was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to literature. He lives in London.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 6, 2017
    Bestseller Horowitz (The House of Silk) provides a treat for fans of golden age mysteries with this tour de force that both honors and pokes fun at the genre. In the prologue, an unnamed editor sets the tone by describing how reading the manuscript of Magpie Murders, the ninth novel in a bestselling mystery series by Alan Conway, cost her her job and many friendships. In the text of the manuscript itself (which is accompanied by a bio of Conway and blurbs from real-life authors Ian Rankin and Robert Harris), Poirot-like sleuth Atticus Pünd, a German concentration camp survivor who has settled in England, tackles an Agatha Christie–like puzzle in 1955 Saxby-on-Avon. The verdict of accidental death seems warranted in the case of housekeeper and unrepentant busybody Mary Blakiston, who took a fatal fall down a flight of stairs at Pye Hall, since no one else was in the locked manor house at the time. But rumors that her estranged son wished Mary dead lead his fiancée to seek Pünd's help. The identity of the person responsible for Mary's death is but one of the questions Pünd must answer, and Horowitz throws in several wicked twists as the narrative builds to a highly satisfying explanation of the prologue. Agent: Jonathan Lloyd, Curtis Brown (U.K.).

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 15, 2017
    A preternaturally brainy novel within a novel that's both a pastiche and a deconstruction of golden-age whodunits.Magpie Murders, bestselling author Alan Conway's ninth novel about Greek/German detective Atticus Pund, kicks off with the funeral of Mary Elizabeth Blakiston, devoted housekeeper to Sir Magnus Pye, who's been found at the bottom of a steep staircase she'd been vacuuming in Pye Hall, whose every external door was locked from the inside. Her demise has all the signs of an accident until Sir Magnus himself follows her in death, beheaded with a sword customarily displayed with a full suit of armor in Pye Hall. Conway's editor, Susan Ryeland, does her methodical best to figure out which of many guilty secrets Conway has provided the suspects in Saxby-on-Avon--Rev. Robin Osborne and his wife, Henrietta; Mary's son, Robert, and his fiancee, Joy Sanderling; Joy's boss, surgeon Emilia Redwing, and her elderly father; antiques dealers Johnny and Gemma Whitehead; Magnus' twin sister, Clarissa; and Lady Frances Pye and her inevitable lover, investor Jack Dartford--is most likely to conceal a killer, but she's still undecided when she comes to the end of the manuscript and realizes the last chapter is missing. Since Conway in inconveniently unavailable, Susan, in the second half of the book, attempts to solve the case herself, questioning Conway's own associates--his sister, Claire; his ex-wife, Melissa; his ex-lover, James Taylor; his neighbor, hedge fund manager John White--and slowly comes to the realization that Conway has cast virtually all of them as fictional avatars in Magpie Murders and that the novel, and indeed Conway's entire fictional oeuvre, is filled with a mind-boggling variety of games whose solutions cast new light on murders fictional and nonfictional. Fans who still mourn the passing of Agatha Christie, the model who's evoked here in dozens of telltale details, will welcome this wildly inventive homage/update/commentary as the most fiendishly clever puzzle--make that two puzzles--of the year.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    January 1, 2017
    Making her way through a manuscript from cantankerous but hugely popular crime writer Alan Conway, put-upon editor Susan Ryeland senses an undercurrent suggesting a real-life case of murder. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Washington Post "Each of the narratives in Magpie Murders is engaging and fluid, each with its own charm, though Horowitz's joyful act of Christie ventriloquism is, in particular, spectacularly impressive."
  • Time Magazine "Anthony Horowitz's Magpie Murders is catnip for classic mystery lovers... With its elegant yet playful plotting, Magpie Murders is the thinking mystery fan's ideal summer thriller."
  • Wall Street Journal "An ingenious funhouse mirror of a novel sets a vintage 'cozy' mystery inside a modern frame."
  • Sophie Hannah, author of The Monogram Murders "Brilliant. Really, really brilliant. I loved it."
  • A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window "An extravagant circus of a novel, part high-wire act, part funhouse mirror. Intricate, bold, stone-cold clever— both comfortably old-fashioned and thrillingly new."
  • O, the Oprah Magazine "Horowitz..has devised an ingenious whodunit within a whodunit, a metamystery with Agatha Christie roots."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A treat for fans of golden age mysteries.... [A] tour de force .... Horowitz throws in several wicked twists.... Highly satisfying."
  • New York Journal of Books "Magpie Murders is an ingenious, twisting tribute to the sleepy English countryside murder and will thoroughly entertain readers of old fashioned detective thrillers."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred) "Fans who still mourn the passing of Agatha Christie...will welcome this wildly inventive homage...as the most fiendishly clever puzzle—make that two puzzles—of the year."
  • AARP Magazine "A perfect summer read from the author of Moriarty."
  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram "Magpie Murders [is] a fiendishly clever literary puzzle."
  • Sunday Times "An ingenious novel-within-a-novel . . . part crime novel, part pastiche, this magnificent piece of crime fiction plays with the genre while also taking it seriously."
  • The Spectator "Superbly written, with great suspects, a perfect period feel, and a cracking reveal at the end."
  • Good Housekeeping (UK) "Anthony Horowitz has devised a fiendish mystery within a mystery that will have you hooked from page one. We loved this Agatha Christie-esque crime novel."
  • Sunday Mirror "A stylish, multi-layered thriller—playful, ingenious and wonderfully entertaining."
  • Irish Times "A compendium of dark delights. . . . A brilliant pastiche of the English village mystery and a hugely enjoyable tale of avarice and skullduggery in the world of publishing."
  • The Herald (Glasgow) "This can only be described as incredibly clever—but what else would you expect from Horowitz?"
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