The Sentence Is Death (Detective Daniel Hawthorne book 2) by Anthony Horowitz (book review).

We are back to the marmite of narratives. You either love the fact that Anthony Horowitz places himself firmly at the centre of the narrative or you can’t stomach it. I’m happily sitting pretty with the idea that I love this to meta-death. Is it an ego trip or is it just something different? He’s certainly taken the detective narrative by the horns recently starting with ‘The Magpie Murders’ with his very bizarre detective, Daniel Hawthorne, and moving on to the two books in this series.

In ‘The Word Is Murder’, the fictional Anthony Horowitz meets a detective who wants him to write his story. Detective Daniel Hawthorne is not the most helpful when it come to supplying Horowitz with data about himself, so he has not only to try and solve the murder presented but also the mystery of the mysterious detective.

This time the man who is murdered is a solicitor and, no big surprise, there are plenty of potential killers. While Horowitz blunders around, there are red herrings and dead herrings flying everywhere. We also learn a little more about Daniel Hawthorne and a lot about the insecurities of one Anthony Horowitz.

Thus follows the classic whodunit where all the clues are available and it’s up to you to get it right. I am most excellent at following misdirection, so I got absolutely everybody down as the murderer and, yes, I’m rubbish at Cluedo, too.

What I like is the little bits of the plot that involve Horowitz or Tony as he hates to be called in his real life. It’s like the picture where we can see a man looking at himself in a mirror and the reflection just carries on. Draw back a bit and there is yet another man looking at the man looking, my head hurts but it’s fun to look at fiction and ‘fact’ in the same narrative. In the next novel, I hope they start casting the TV version of the novels so we can add more Horowitz and more Hawthorne. Hours of amusement in working out who will play them and whether they will be real or fictional.

Sue Davies

December 2018

(pub: Century/Random House. 384 page hardback. Price: £20.00 (UK). ISBN-13: 978-1-78089-709-7)

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