Book tip: "The Word is Murder," Anthony Horowitz

Book tip

The Word is Murder

Anthony Horowitz

Normally, I associate metafiction with Brooklyn-esque literary goofballs whose "I'm clever" novels include different fonts, upside-down and/or backwards writing, mirrors, actual fingerprints from Thomas Pynchon and instructions that you have to read the book only in a treehouse. I'm giving the astonishingly talented and devious Horowitz a break, though. His "meta" constuct is that he's inserted his real-life self into a mystery novel starring the very fictional ex-murder detective Daniel Hawthorne. Horowitz agrees to write about a homicide Hawthorne's working on — one in which a wealthy widow organizes her own funeral and is murdered six hours later. With clear and proud homage to Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, Horowitz has a terrific time telling an irrisistible whodunnit and introducing Hawthorne, a not-entirely-likeable but clearly brilliant hero. Start now: The second of what will hopefully be a long Hawthorne/Horowitz series, "The Sentence is Death," is already out.

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