The Word is Murder Review

The Word is Murder Review | Anthony Horowitz

I’ve been a fan of Anthony Horowitz since a teen. When I saw this come up on Netgalley, I was intrigued to say the least. Deciding it was time to explore his adult fiction, I requested a copy – and had such a blast with this book. Keep reading for my review on The Word is Murder.

Publisher: Random House, Uk, Cornerstone Century | Date: 2017 | Genre: Mystery


New York Times bestselling author of Magpie Murders and Moriarty, Anthony Horowitz has yet again brilliantly reinvented the classic crime novel, this time writing a fictional version of himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes.

One bright spring morning in London, Diana Cowper – the wealthy mother of a famous actor – enters a funeral parlor. She is there to plan her own service.

Six hours later she is found dead, strangled with a curtain cord in her own home.

Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric investigator who’s as quick with an insult as he is to crack a case. Hawthorne needs a ghost writer to document his life; a Watson to his Holmes. He chooses Anthony Horowitz.

Drawn in against his will, Horowitz soon finds himself a the center of a story he cannot control. Hawthorne is brusque, temperamental and annoying but even so his latest case with its many twists and turns proves irresistible. The writer and the detective form an unusual partnership. At the same time, it soon becomes clear that Hawthorne is hiding some dark secrets of his own.

I received The Word is Murder from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Word is Murder 2

The Word is Murder Review

I admit it: I’ve never read Alex Rider. But I did come across Anthony Horowitz as a young teenager with his Gatekeeper series. It was one of the first series that got me into the idea of fantasy and a select few having powers. It’s been an inspiration in my own writing.

When I saw this come up on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance. I adored his writing style and wanted to see if that was still true. Not only because I’m older, but because he is writing for an adult audience this time, not a children’s one.

Oh my word. It has been a long time since I’ve been this invested in a book. I loved it.


The plot is good (I’ll get onto that later) but it’s the narration that makes this book genius. Horowitz inserts himself as one of the main characters. But not by trying to rename himself and pretend it’s not him: the book is written in an almost-autobiography way. He – Anthony Horowitz, the writer – is part of the book as himself – as Anthony Horowitz, the writer.

I didn’t want to expose him. Despite everything, I had no desire at all to hurt him. But suddenly I saw that I might have a purpose after all. I would investigate the investigator.

The idea is that he has been approached to write about a detective’s life but in doing so, gets drawn into the latest murder investigation taking place. But there is enough information scattered throughout that you know is true about him, so it’s easy to believe the rest of it is also happening. I’ve been drawn into murder mysteries before, but never to the point where you want to Google something to find out if it actually happened or not.

What partly really captivated me is that I admire him as a writer anyway. I don’t like biographies, but he would be someone that I would read one from. As an inspiring author as well, the snippets about his working progress and those small details genuinely interested me as well as the actual plot.

The other characters – the totally fictional ones (I think) – worked. Hawthorne is a cold and dismissive man, but you start to warm to him as the book progresses, just as Horowitz does. The suspects are well developed with their own motives and the killer – once revealed – is scary in how far s/he has gone to commit the murders.


Even without the unique narration style, the plot itself would have kept me gripped. A murder opens up something a lot bigger, with various suspects all with their own motives. There is misdirection, tension and an effective building of suspense that kept you hooked. I couldn’t guess who was responsible and the twists along the way revealed things you didn’t see coming. There was only one thing that I picked up on and was actually right about. Not many mysteries can do that.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a fan of Horowitz or not, this book is thoroughly entertaining. If you like murder mysteries, then I definitely recommend this. If you just want something good to read, then I would also suggest adding it to the pile.

Are you an Anthony Horowitz fan? Does this sound like something you’d want to read?

Also in the series:

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15 thoughts on “The Word is Murder Review | Anthony Horowitz

  1. I have to get my hands on this! The synopsis itself sounds amazing and your review sold it to me even more! I haven’t ready much from him, but the way you talk about Horowitz just makes me want to read it even more!

    Liked by 1 person

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