Read as part of CBR10 Bingo: Off a list. https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/75892-the-most-anticipated-books-of-spring-2018.html
This book should not have worked. A mystery writer inserting their self as a character is bad enough; most detectives are ancillaries for their creators as is. And my personal track record of the-creator-as-character is not good, though it’s limited to Stephen King’s appearance in his Dark Tower series.
Yet it does work, at least well enough, because Anthony Horowitz is such a compelling writer. I discovered Horowitz earlier this year with his superb Magpie Murders book. Later, I found out he’s been responsible for two excellent British tv programs I’ve enjoyed (Foyle’s War and The Midsomer Murders). The guy has talent and I’m now at the point where I’ll read almost anything he writes. I have his James Bond book on standby as soon as I read Goldfinger.
“Anthony Horowitz” is functioning as a writer-cum-detective who is shadowing an actual private detective. The back-and-forth with a Sherlock Holmes-like detective is interesting enough. Horowitz has an obvious fascination with Holmes given that he’s written several continuations of the famous series. Personality-wise, Horowitz’s counterpart is a bit too dull to be that engaging, even with his superior skills in deduction. But I could feel Horowitz’s exasperation with the man he was following, it mirrors the readers. Some might find that cloying and again, in the hands of a lesser author, it may have been. But Horowitz manages to make it endearing.
The mystery is interesting enough until the revelation, at which point it falls out of the cliche tree and hits every branch on the way down. Disappointing but the end to mystery novels usually is and it didn’t hamper my enjoyment enough to dock it a star.
Having seen Horowitz pull off two high concept mystery novels and considering he often traffics in tribute novels at the behest of the Fleming and Doyle families respectively, I wonder how he would do firing off a banal, standard-grade mystery. He’s a talented writer and I would most certainly read it. These kinds of books are fun but I’d actually like to see him try something different and less inventive.