The Word Is Murder

The Word Is Murder

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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.

A masterful and tricky mystery that springs many surprises, The Word is Murder is Anthony Horowitz at his very best.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538549940
Publisher: Blackstone Pub
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Series: Daniel Hawthorne Series , #1
Edition description: Unabridged Library Edition
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

ANTHONY HOROWITZ is the author of the US bestselling Magpie Murders and The Word is Murder, and one of the most prolific and successful writers in the English language; he may have committed more (fictional) murders than any other living author. His novel Trigger Mortis features original material from Ian Fleming. His most recent Sherlock Holmes novel, Moriarty, is a reader favorite; and his bestselling Alex Rider series for young adults has sold more than 19 million copies worldwide. As a TV screenwriter, he created both Midsomer Murders and the BAFTA-winning Foyle’s War on PBS. Horowitz regularly contributes to a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines, and in January 2014 was awarded an OBE.

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The Word Is Murder 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The magpie murders was a perfection so I wanted to read "the word is murder". It has an unusual and intriguing premise with the author as a character as himself. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 as I was put off at first by all of Mr Horowitz recap of his work and it felt like advertisement for his work but once you pass beyond that the murder mystery is ingenious and so well done I could not put it down. And I actually enjoyed the description of the authentic local.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Magpie Murders by the same author was so good that I took a chance on this mystery. It has a good ending, but I didn't feel like any of it was real because the author himself was the main character of the book. And, unfortunately, he was not an interesting character. He was supposed to be a Watson to his detective character Hawthorne, but Hawthorne was also a boring character. The book was an experiment & I appreciate that but I won't be buying any sequels featuring this duo.
the-traveling-inkwell More than 1 year ago
I knew from the start that The Word Is Murder was going to be unlike anything I'd ever read. Anthony Horowitz has written himself into his next mystery novel, during which he gets more than he bargained for in a murder mystery he was hoping to use as inspiration for his next mystery novel. Yes, you read that correctly. Horowitz's fictional version of himself enters into an unlikely partnership with a disgraced detective he never much cared for. It's a symbiotic relationship: the prickly ex-detective Hawthorne wants to be immortalized on paper, and he drops a case in Horowitz's lap that's intriguing enough to have Horowitz cast his reservations aside. But Hawthorne's personality doesn't make tagging along for the investigation a trivial process; they're butting heads left and right over everything from Hawthorne refusing to share slivers of his personal life to the eventual title of the novel itself (he's a proponent of Hawthorne Investigates, much to Horowitz's continued dismay). I found myself in the same boat as our narrator, constantly straddling the line between irritated and begrudgingly impressed by Hawthorne's unconventional methods, and I loved the meta undercurrent throughout the whole novel where Horowitz stresses over how Hawthorne will translate into a story's protagonist. The plot was a blast to read. We join Hawthorne and Horowitz as they chase obscure leads throughout London, pulling at even the slimmest of threads and watching them unravel. At the core of the mystery is a woman who planned her own funeral and was murdered later that same day, but there are secrets buried deep in her past and in the lives of those around her, and nothing is what it seems. Some parts of the mystery were predictable, but others kept me guessing throughout, even despite the narrator's meta foreshadowing and Hawthorne's ability to identify the truth of a scene upon first glance. Horowitz obsesses over the details, never sure which seemingly tangential clues will be the next to get Hawthorne's spotlight, and by the end of the novel when everything clicks into place, you really do get the sense the answers were right there in front of you all along. The Word Is Murder is a delight of a novel and easily one of the most creative endeavors I've read all year. It's incredibly self-aware and meta, and half the fun is trying to pick out the truth from the embellishments from the flat-out fiction. I absolutely loved the ending and found it befitting of the tone of the entire story and Hawthorne and Horowitz's tumultuous relationship. This is one book that will be sticking with me for awhile. Anthony Horowitz, you've got yourself a new fan! Warm thanks to HarperCollins for providing me with a digital copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A work of fiction? Hm....this story is too twisted, too personal, too extraordinary, too short, a completely believable real life series of events....even if it IS a work of fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the first few chapters of the book I was sure I wasn’t going to like it but I kept on reading. I ended up loving it. I really enjoyed how the author made himself apart of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've never read a book quite like this.
booklover- More than 1 year ago
One bright day a woman walks into the local funeral parlor and plans her own funeral. She has a list of requirements and pays with her credit card. Six hours later she is dead .... someone strangled the life out of her. This is a uniquely written book. Anthony Horowitz has written a fictional book using himself as one of the primary characters. It's like reading a story within a story within a story. As a character, he is a writer, screenwriter, and speaks often of some of his real time books. He is Watson to a modern day Holmes ... whose name is Daniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne is a unique being, as well. He touts himself as a consultant to the police when it comes to unsolved murder cases. He has Horowitz following him around as he searches for clues and interrogates possible suspects. Their relationship is anything but easy. They each want this future book to be written a certain way ... and with two alpha males, it isn't happening. There are plenty of suspects to follow .... a theatrical producer who had lunch with the woman the same day she died.... her famous son, an actor, and some say a bully. Since everything she had has been left to him, he becomes someone to watch.... Her house cleaner, who found the body, yet lied to the police.... The number one suspect is the family of two young boys. 10 years ago the woman, driving her car without her glasses, plowed into them while they were crossing the street. One boy was killed outright .. the other boy left with massive head injuries. She was charged, but found not guilty. But the biggest question is ... dd the woman know she was going to die that day? Twists and turns, lies and secrets ... all the marvelous things that make a murder mystery a great read. I loved how the author invented a mystery with himself in the center of everything. Many thanks to the author / Random House UK / Edelweiss for the advanced digital copy of this most entertaining book. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
RodRaglin 9 months ago
A mix of fact and fiction make for a clever, well-written mystery. An author is recruited by a discredited detective who in turn has been hired as a consultant by his former employer to solve a puzzling murder. The sleuth wants the writer to tell the story about how he solves the murder and in turn, share the rewards of what he’s sure will a bestseller. The author is not so sure–about the detective or the project. Author Anthony Horowitz mixes fact with fiction and real people with imaginary characters to weave a story that has plenty of twists and turns. The plot becomes a bit convoluted near the end but not so much as to dismiss it as contrived.
Valerian70 More than 1 year ago
3.5 Stars Admittedly I have read the Hawthorne books out of order but I found The Sentence Is Death to be the better of the two. In this one there is so little of Hawthorne to grab on to that he is, literally, just words on a page. I know this is deliberate as it accurately reflects the narrator's exasperation at knowing so little about the subject he is now to write about; but it did make it hard going at times. This is especially because it is almost an ego-piece at times with the narrator taking control of every aspect and lamenting his difficulties in writing the book about the Cowper Murder whilst he knows so little about his hero. There were many times I wanted to heartily slap Tony and tell him to get his head from a certain orifice, but I couldn't because this is a fiction piece and whilst the Tony we read about has the exact same career trajectory and home life as the actual author (confused yet?) they are not one and the same person. It is this conceit that dangerously blurs the lines between fact and fiction but somehow the plotting is so bizarre (and rather outlandish at times) that the reader is never in any real danger of mixing reality and fiction in to an homogenous blob - at least I hope they aren't. I did enjoy reading the book and before I started I had already promised myself that I would not try and figure out whodunnit as I knew it would be suitably obscured and every time something relevant was mentioned it would be immediately followed by a ton of obfuscation. I think if I had been trying to work out who the murderer was and what their motives were I would probably have just given up on the book. There is a certain wit and humour buried within the pages - but it is of a rather black and bleak sort (but that appeals to me). As a final aside I am pretty sure that Mr Horowitz does not know any Funeral Directors personally. He pretty much does a disservice to the profession in this book, painting them as dour and rather humourless individuals. Trust me on this, we really aren't (my first job and still my best ever job was as a Funeral Director's Assistant), there is just a certain demeanour expected from us when "on the job". In reality we generally have overdeveloped senses of humour and a strong sense of the ridiculous.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the plot was certainly interesting , Anthony Horowitz's lengthy and boring descriptions of his own works were off putting . Blurring the lines between fact and fiction was an innovative approach to writing this book .
3no7 More than 1 year ago
“The Word is Murder,” by Anthony Horowitz is a reimagined Holmes and Watson mystery. In a first person narrative, Horowitz tells a compelling modern day mystery with a version of himself as Watson and Hawthorne as Holmes. The book opens in London when Diana Cowper, the mother of a famous actor, goes into a funeral parlor to plan and pay for her own service. Six hours later she is dead, strangled with a curtain cord in her own home. The drama advances as the annoying Hawthorne approaches Horowitz to write a book featuring himself and his exploits as a detective. The characters are familiar with the brilliant, eccentric, police detective Daniel Hawthorne as a modern Holmes. Hawthorne is curt, temperamental, and annoying; he is quick with an insult and focused on cracking the case at any cost. Horowitz, as Watson, finds himself working with a partner with secrets he cannot uncover and documenting a story he cannot control. “The Word is Murder,” is one of the best modern adaptations of the classic Holmes and Watson relationship. This unusual partnership results in an irresistible tale with twists and turns on every page. The clues emerge gradually and are understated enough to fool even the most observant readers who may find that at end that previous solutions and identification were very wrong. I listened to “The Word is Murder” as an audio book narrated by Rory Kinnear who did an excellent job with the voices of the diverse characters in the story. Many modern adaptations of Holmes pale in comparison to the original, holds its own ground. The good news is that this is but the first book in the Hawthorne series, and the second, “The Sentence is Death” is out now.
pamkaye More than 1 year ago
The death of an elderly lady is the start of this great adventurous whodunit. Did Diana Cowper know she was about to get murdered or was it coincidence? When Ex-Detective Daniel Hawthorne asks writer Anthony Horowitz to follow him on an investigation and write about it, little did either of them know where it was gonna take them. The characters are all written with full clarity of who they are, what they look like, and fthe kind of people they are. The scenes are describe in detail, so you can see them clearly in your head. The dialog ring true. It's sdhard to tell that this is fiction. The ending is not what I expected and I love when an author can surprise me like that. I truly enjoyed this book. I plan on reading more Horowitz in the near future, or watching some of his tv series. The only reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 is because sometimes the details were a little to much or too repetative. Although some details were important to the conclusion and needed to be repeated and ground into the brain, so the reader wasn't confused by the outcome.
Twink More than 1 year ago
I've enjoyed Anthony Horowitz's previous adult mysteries and happily picked up his latest, The Word is Murder. Oh my gosh, it is so very, very clever! I absolutely adored it! The murder? A woman walks into a funeral home, plans her funeral and is found murdered six hours later. Ex police detective Daniel Hawthorne is called in to help with the investigation. Hawthorne is also looking for someone to ghost write his memoirs and approaches Anthony Horowitz. Yes, you read that right - Horowitz himself is a character in the book! I must admit to being unsure if this was a fiction book in the first few chapters. (it is) And if this concept would work.(it really does) Horowitz is soon drawn into the case as he follows Hawthorne around on his investigation. Hawthorne is such a great character - a brilliant detective, but somewhat lacking in personal interactive skills. I quite liked him. He reminded me a bit of Cormoran Strike. The publisher describes Horowitz as a Watson to Hawthorne's Holmes and its a spot on description. I had so much fun reading Horowitz's description of himself, his thoughts and reactions. Can you imagine the writing process? The interactions between the two are wonderfully depicted. And just as well done is the actual mystery. Hawthorne picks up on the smallest clues and discrepancies. Horowitz also tries to investigate, but doesn't have the skill set of Hawthorne. It's not clear who is the culprit and I was kept guessing alongside of our protagonists. Clever, clever, clever. The Word of Murder is excellent reading. And....there is a sequel coming called Another Word for Murder. Can't wait!
jnmegan More than 1 year ago
Anthony Horowitz is an author with a far reach into many genres for teens and adults and has even expanded his repertoire to include film and television. His 2017 novel, Magpie Murders (my review here) has been widely acclaimed and lauded for its deft intertwining of a classic mystery with a contemporary frame containing a puzzler of its own. This summer, Horowitz published The Word is Murder, another dive into the world of mystery fiction. This time, Horowitz presents a modern Sherlock Holmes-style tale with a sly twist- Horowitz inserts himself into his own story as its first-person narrator. Blurring the lines between his real life as an author and as a fictional character, Horowitz teases the reader into guessing how much he resembles his own Watson-like creation. For this outing, the author/character is recruited by a former-detective turned consultant whose knack for uncanny deduction and personal idiosyncrasies is an obvious nod to Doyle’s famous protagonist. Hawthorne wants Anthony (whom he irritatingly refers to as “Tony”) to shadow him on his latest case and produce a true-crime report that extols his abilities. Of course, as a famous fiction writer, Horowitz is ambivalent about taking on such an atypical and demeaning role. He agrees to the assignment after a strange encounter at an author event, and then becomes hooked on discovering the solution to the mystery. He repeatedly vacillates in his dedication to the project as he continually clashes with Hawthorne. The book contains a long unnecessary digression in which Horowitz writes about working on a screenplay for Spielberg and Jackson, and the recurring delineation of his achievements bordered on hubris. Of course, the reader is left to wonder if that just could be Horowitz having some fun by allowing his character license to toot his own horn. A good page turner and a unique take on some well-worn territory, The Word is Murder is intriguing and the quirky narrative style is well done. Horowitz’s admirers will be pleased and wonder what he will experiment with next.
4840318 More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, this book is DNF @ 50%. I was so looking forward to my first book by Anthony Horowitz as I had heard so many good things about him and it's hard not to miss all of the buzz around Magpie Murders. So, when I got The Word is Murder, I was beyond excited. I couldn't wait to see what the buzz was all about. Sadly, this book didn't work for me. I don't know if it is the writing style or this story in particular, but the plot was just soooooo. slooooooow moooooving. And quite frankly, I don't even care who killed Diana Cowper. I also didn't like how the author made himself a character. It really didn't work for me and I didn't really see how it helped the actual story at all. It just seemed like Horowitz wanted an opportunity to tell people who may not know who he is, who he is. And again, I just really didn't care. To me, it simply did nothing to enhance the story and I found myself skim reading through most of it because it just all seemed so pretentious. Anyway, I am in the CLEAR minority here, as there are tons and tons of 5 star reviews. So you may want to check it out for yourself. Just because it didn't work for me, doesn't mean you won't like it. Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for my copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I’ve been looking forward to Anthony’s next book since House of Silk and Moriarity. The unique concept of writing in the first person really makes you feel you’re part of book, watching him write. Highly recommend for adult Horowitz fans.
Juliet71 More than 1 year ago
This is probably one of the most unique books I've ever read. This is a murder mystery written from the perspective of the author of the book before he's written the book. The story opens with a woman who walks into a funeral home to arrange her own funeral, and then is murdered later that same day. The woman happens to be the mother of a famous actor, so the case receives a significant amount of attention. Horowitz, an author with a variety of pending projects, is approached by a former detective who is consulting with the police to investigate the murder. Hawthorne, the former detective, wants Horowitz to write a book about the case, which would involve Horowitz accompanying him as he investigates the crime and interviews suspects and witnesses. Horowitz reluctantly agrees, for although he dislikes the detective, he is intrigued by the circumstances surrounding the death. This was a highly entertaining read, and I found myself searching online to verify whether some of the projects mentioned in the book were real. It is a somewhat surreal experience to read about an author's thought process while he's considering writing a book that has already been written because you're reading it (insert mind-blown emoji here).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was not familiar with Anthony Horowitz, so I had trepidation when first I read this unique mystery. In the opening a woman goes to a mortician, whips out her credit card, and then pays for her funeral. Already I was entranced. Unfortunately, a few hours later the woman is dead. Anthony Horowitz has done something interesting and rare. He has inserted himself into his own book. He makes numerous and varying comments about books, some even his own. He comes off as a modern-day Watson to the book’s Holmes, A.K.A. Daniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne is a police consultant who promises to assist the police in solving homicides. The story is full of suspects with many motives. Who committed murder is the question. The book is unpredictable and replete with twists and turns, all which make for an entertaining, unique, and fun mystery novel.