Anthony Horowitz’s sleek, fun, cunning new novel is a complex reckoning with Christie’s immense popularity, and what it says about us as readers ... a flawless imitation of the Golden Age mysteries of Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham ... Horowitz captures Christie’s uncanny ability to glide at lark’s height over a village’s inhabitants, exposing their little weaknesses, dreams, secrets; everyone, even if it’s not murder, is guilty of something ... Each of the narratives in Magpie Murders is engaging and fluid, each with its own charm, though Horowitz’s joyful act of Christie ventriloquism is, in particular, spectacularly impressive.
Much like his character Alan, he is both prolific and a bona fide student of the golden age of detective fiction — and his knowledge shines through in this book, which is catnip for classic mystery lovers. As a Christie disciple, he is near equal to his master ... With its elegant yet playful plotting, Magpie Murders is the thinking mystery fan's ideal summer thriller.
[Horowitz] has, like a magpie, taken themes, devices, techniques and shtick from the styles of at least half a dozen other writers (Agatha Christie to Sophie Hannah, E.C. Bentley to Robert Harris) in order to concoct an entertaining hall-of-mirrors work in which art imitates life and vice versa. As parody, pastiche or a whole new sort of puzzle, Magpie Murders holds one’s attention from first to last. Its echoes and allusions continue to tease the brain even after the book is closed.
...a clever meditation on the whodunit genre by one of its leading experts ... Still, the book could be shorter and more incisive — it takes the span of two crime novels to make its commentary about crime novels, a commentary devoid of criticism of a traditionally white and male-dominated genre, with a middle-age female narrator who is wonderful and intelligent but nonetheless believes life has passed her by because she is unmarried and childless. But it is, ultimately, a smart, enjoyable read, with two satisfying mysteries for the price of one.
Anthony Horowitz’s latest book will appeal to fans across the crime fiction sub-genres. On the one hand you have the modern mystery with an amateur sleuth following in the footsteps of the classic detective. Then you have Atticus Pünd, who is reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, or Francis Duncan’s Mordecai Tremaine. This section of the book will certainly make you feel like you’ve been transported back to the Golden Age of crime fiction, with all its descriptions of scenery and interesting characters. Magpie Murders is one of those books with a cosy, familiar feel about it too, and certainly one that will have you curling up on the sofa with your beverage of choice and at the very least a packet of digestives. Once you start reading it’s an easy book to become absorbed in, purely because you find yourself being drawn in from the start by the narrative. Magpie Murders has to be ranked as a must-read.
While the first story is more enjoyable than the second, which drags a little, this is overall a very entertaining set of tales, and readers will enjoy finding clues in the whodunit that will help solve the mystery in the latter tale. Perfect for readers of Christie and Sophie Hannah, for lovers of mysteries with a splash of metafiction, and, of course, for fans of Horowitz’s other work in multiple genres, for both young people and adults.
Bestseller Horowitz provides a treat for fans of golden age mysteries with this tour de force that both honors and pokes fun at the genre ... he identity of the person responsible for Mary's death is but one of the questions Pünd must answer, and Horowitz throws in several wicked twists as the narrative builds to a highly satisfying explanation of the prologue.
Fans who still mourn the passing of Agatha Christie, the model who’s evoked here in dozens of telltale details, will welcome this wildly inventive homage/update/commentary as the most fiendishly clever puzzle—make that two puzzles—of the year.