In the fourth of Horowitz’s Detective Hawthorne novels, chapter one opens with Horowitz stating, rather vehemently, that he absolutely will definitely not be penning another fly-on-the-wall crime novel about Hawthorne. It’s all rather tongue-in-cheek, as readers have come to expect, and is of course a completely fabricated piece of dialogue with a completely fabricated detective.
Horowitz is preparing for the first night of Mindgame, an experimental play that he’s written. Hawthorne isn’t interested. Nothing new there – he’s a man of mystery with few redeemable features – who wouldn’t see a play just because he knows the playwright.
When Mindgame’s opening night arrives, an early review is met with dismay, and its small cast are understandably furious. But when the critic is found murdered, the number one suspect is Horowitz, and Detective Hawthorne is the only one with a chance of getting him off a murder charge. Can he do it? Well, you probably already know the answer to that one!
For me, these ‘Hawthorne Investigates’ novels (as they’re definitely not called) hold two main appeals.
Firstly, they’re pretty good ‘cosy’ murder mysteries with all the usual twists and turns. Rather reminiscent of Midsomer Murders (no surprise as Horowitz also writes those), you’ll find no gratuitously grisly death scenes, but the novels all feature strong character relationships and plenty of cleverly-inserted clues to keep the reader in with a chance of guessing whodunnit.
Secondly, the USP of these novels is the fictionalised insertion of Horowitz himself as a protagonist. Self-aware and self-deprecating, I’m not sure how much I actually know about the real writer now, and how much is made up, but it’s a fun concept and makes for an interesting light-hearted read.
Overall, as always, I found this latest book from Anthony Horowitz to be thoroughly enjoyable on lots of different levels. I do hope that there are more in the pipeline!
‘The Twist of a Knife’ will be published on 18th August 2022. Thank you to NetGalley UK, Random House UK and Anthony Horowitz for this ARC in return for my honest review.
My other reviews of books by Anthony Horowitz: You can read my review of ‘A Line to Kill’ here and ‘Moonflower Murders’ here.