A Line To Kill by Anthony Horowitz (book review).

October 29, 2021 | By | Reply More

In ‘A Line To Kill’, we join Anthony Horowitz on his third meta-verse trip where he is part of the story. It’s hard to resist the cheap thrill of joining in with this fantasy that effectively does an updated Agatha Christie, hopefully not so much that the narrator is bumped off or becomes the killer.

This time the private detective Daniel Hawthorne, who Anthony continues to find intriguing, accompanies him to a small literary festival on the island of Alderney. Except it’s Daniel who’s keen to go and Anthony has no idea why.

Alderney is a very small place only three miles long and half a mile wide, what could possibly go wrong? But there is something simmering under the surface here. Alderney was evacuated in the Second World War and the Germans occupied and fortified it. It would have been a simple hop from there if they had decided to invade Britain.

Now there is a dispute over a new power line that will literally split the island in two and the battle lines are drawn again. The literary guests include a celebrity chef, a French poet and a blind medium. The rich sponsor throws an opulent party but is found dead the day after. With Daniel Hawthorne on hand to investigate Anthony decides to join in. The game is definitely afoot.

Hawthorne as the modern day Sherlock Holmes with all the quirks and mystery you might expect means the fictional Anthony is kept on his toes. Horowitz has cast himself as the bumbling version of Doctor Watson who is always a little behind on that is happening but manages to seed the clues into the narrative.

As we don’t get this meta intention very often it’s fun to not only enjoy the mystery and trying to solve it but also to unpick the construction. Mr. H offers himself as not without faults but I guess it could be said that it’s the ultimate ego trip placing yourself within the narrative. I’d love to see this televised but it wouldn’t work because of this placement unless he has some hidden acting skills.

This probably falls into the realm of what is now known as cosy mystery. There’s no real dilemma for our heroes and we know all we will be comfortably solved. It’s a classic trope where the only suspects are going to be the ones we’ve been introduced to and not a random stranger.

Horowitz makes this look easy as after all it’s been his bread and butter for years. I love this book and this kind of fiction is manna for the tired mind. Just relax and let it wash over you.

Sue Davies

October 2021

(pub: Century/Penguin, 2021. 384 page hardback. Price: £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-52912-430-9)

check out website: www.penguin.co.uk/company/publishers/cornerstone/century.html

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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