Magpie Murders

Magpie Murders

Book - 2017
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A "brilliant and strikingly original reimagining of the classic whodunit (a la Agatha Christie) with a contemporary mystery wrapped around it"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2017]
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062645227
Branch Call Number: M HOROWIT ANTHONY
Characteristics: 236 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

“Susan Ryeland is a London book editor who has just received the latest manuscript from one of her most irascible authors, Alan Conway. But the manuscript’s ending appears to be missing and she learns that Conway has committed suicide. As Ryeland learns more about his death, she starts to questio... Read More »

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Mar 22, 2021

Susan Ryeland (randy, sensual?) is a book editor for a small London publisher. She receives a manuscript of a murder mystery from her star author. Only it’s missing the last chapters. A mystery without the ending is worthless. We are then given the manuscript to read ourselves. In it Atticus Pund is a German refugee turned private eye who takes on a last case before the inevitable end he knows he is facing based on bad news from his doctor. He travels to a small town in England and we find out about more than one death. But we are left hanging because of the missing chapters. When Susan seeks the missing pages, she is shocked to learn that the author himself has just died under suspicious circumstances. When she travels to his home town, a village much like the one in the book, she finds striking similarities between the book and real life. We are left to try to solve the book mysteries and the “real life” ones. That’s all I can say about the plot without spoilers.

If you haven’t figured it out already, that “randy, sensual” remark is an anagram of Susan Ryeland. Wordplay is sprinkled liberally throughout the manuscript, although that’s not obvious at first. I really enjoyed that part. The book as a whole was very fun even if the ending(s) wasn’t all that I had hoped. The author has produced too many suspects on both levels and could have picked any at random to be the guilty party, so it’s not a fair mystery for the reader to solve. That dropped it a star for me. Still, he writes very well and I was thoroughly entertained through most of the book. It has a real wit to it at times, too.

Mar 21, 2021

This was a whodunit within a whodunit. Very interesting the way this book was constructed. It had a real Agatha Christie vibe to it. I liked it

Feb 12, 2021

Laurie recommendation - Magpie Murders #1.

Jan 30, 2021

Suggested by Diane Broberg - TCMA Christmas book review session

Jan 27, 2021

rec from hillary

Nov 07, 2020

RETURNED 4-14-21 Checked out 3-30/due back 4-21 1st book in series. 2nd book is series is Moonflowers Murders 2020. Susan Ryeland. For TV - he did Foyle's War and Midsomer Murders

Jul 14, 2020

Good old fashioned style mystery.

sapl3 Apr 09, 2020


Horowitz, perhaps best known for being the creator of two of the most popular TV series – Midsommer Murders and Foyle’s War– brings his talent to the page with this mystery, so reminiscent of Agatha Christie and her contemporaries. Cleverly written as a book within a book, Magpie Murders introduces us to the fictional detective, Atticus Pund, and his author, Alan Conway.

Conway’s editor, Sue Ryland, is in the process of editing his latest manuscript, and finds the usual aftermath from the violent death of one of the characters. But she senses an undertone that she cannot quite put her finger on. Could it be a case of life imitating art or vice versa?

We are treated to puzzles and delicious word-play, all the while being encouraged to tally up the clues to solve the mysteries that have been so cleverly depicted.

What a delightfully clever read this was!

Feb 24, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful mystery which contains not one but two mysteries. The first mystery involves a new manuscript from a mystery written, but unfortunately the ending has disappeared. The editor, Susan Ryeland, commences a search for the missing chapters, but before she starts, the author falls to his death and a suicide note arrives at the publishing company. I loved Susan’s search for the missing chapters and her search for the truth about the writer’s fall from a tower. Anthony Horowitz does an excellent job with the parallel characters in the mystery and in actual life. The setting also runs a parallel track between fiction and reality. So many red herrings in both versions of the whodunit mystery. I relish the description of clues and minute details, and lack of graphic details and foul language. Horowitz presents an anagram and links characters and places with other noted English mystery writers that impel a reader to reread those authors, again.

BPLpicks Dec 12, 2019

This had the vibe of a classic British mystery and It was a good fun read.

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