Orion Books 2016
SEVEN FOR A MYSTERY THAT NEEDS TO BE SOLVED
Editor Susan Ryeland has worked with bestselling crime writer Alan Conway for years. Readers love his detective Atticus Pund, a celebrated solver of crimes in the sleepy villages of the 1950s.
But Conway’s latest tale of murder at Pye Hall is not quite what it seems. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but hidden in the pages of the manuscript lies another story: a tale written between the very words on the page, telling real – life jealously, greed ruthless ambition and murder.
Sunday Times bestseller Anthony Horowitz’s deliciously dark take on the vintage crime novel will grip you with a succession of fiendish modern twists up to the final page.
Paying homage to the classic crime story, this murder mystery is a book within a book. Susan Ryeland reads Alan Conway’s manuscript only to find it’s missing the final chapters – the great reveal. That same day she hears that the author himself has died. Seemingly suicide, explained by letter disclosing a terminal illness. Determined to find the missing chapters, Susan finds herself Editor turned Detective as troublesome parallels emerge between real life and fiction.
Essentially 2 stories – the manuscript and then Susan’s efforts to find the missing pages. I enjoyed both stories although if I’m honest towards the end I struggled a bit with the number of characters and who belonged where. The format of the book was interesting in terms of a brief introduction setting the context of the plot of Susan taking the manuscript home. Then over 200 pages of the manuscript – a really great manuscript it has to be said, albeit ending abruptly, then back into Susan’s world. With Alan Conway as the agency’s best selling author the motivation to find the lost pages is initially financial but swiftly Susan finds herself steeped in the mystery of Alan’s death. And of course the manuscript holds clues to the mystery and a parody of characters feature in both stories.
Incredibly intelligent writing and without doubt a great piece of fiction. If I was a re – reader this book would definitely be going on that pile to be read again. Overall I did like this book a lot, however I was noticeably more engaged with the manuscript part, I think because I was able to read in one chunk, the latter part of the book was interrupted by work and life and felt a little disjointed. A holiday read perhaps…