Century (Penguin Random House) 2017
A WOMAN CROSSES A LONDON STREET.
It is just after 11am on a bright spring morning, and Diana Cowper is going into a funeral parlour to organise her own service.
A mere six hours later she is dead, strangled with a crimson curtain cord in her own home.
Did she know she was going to die?
Did she recognise her killer?
Are the two events even related? Because nobody arranges their own funeral, and then gets killed the same day – do they?
Enter Daniel Hawthorne, a detective with a genius for solving crimes and an ability to hold his secrets very close.
With him is his writing partner, Anthony Horowitz. Together they will set out to solve this most puzzling of mysteries.
What neither of them know is that they are about to embark on a dark and dangerous journey where the twists and turns are as unexpected as they are bloody…
I’d seen this book recommended over on Instagram so when it caught my eye on the shelf at the library I was quick to pick it up. Having never read Anthony Horowitz before (the Alex Rider series seems to have passed my boys by) I had no idea what to expect. That said, having only read this book I don’t feel much wiser in that respect, except to say I will definitely be reading more by this author.
A highly original format of Anthony Horowitz, as himself largely shadowing a Private Detective in the role of Consultant assisting the police with a complex murder investigation. Written in the first person with the author himself as the narrator, I enjoyed immensely the play between fiction and reality although wasn’t always sure which was which!
The plot itself was excellent, with Anthony accompanying Daniel Hawthorne – unpopular, opinionated, demanding and secretive on his investigation, Anthony never quite being clear on the direction they are going and a conflict between he and Daniel over his role. The relationship between the 2 main characters was brilliant with some black humour that made me chuckle. Anthony’s polite, well spoken character perfectly complimenting the ragged Daniel, who had no qualms about upsetting anyone.
The investigation was sharp and clever, with Daniel explaining aspects to Anthony as the story progressed, making it incredibly clear to the reader and so no referring back through the book for clarity. There was a theme of glamour and exclusivity running through the book due to who the victims were, but also due to Anthony’s affluent circumstances as a successful author.
This read as a classic crime story, which despite clues throughout I failed to solve. I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of this reading experience and intend to read Magpie Murders soon – has anyone read that? Is it similar to this?