By Chet Yarbrough
Written by: Anthony Horowitz
Narrated by: Samantha Bond, Allan Corduner
Anthony Horowitz offers a mystery within a mystery. Anthony Horowitz successfully suspends imagination and compels listeners to know “who done it” in two intertwined mysteries. As an added benefit, Horowitz offers insight to the writing profession. He explains the genre of mystery with a fictional editor who manages a curmudgeonly, difficult, and successful mystery writer. The writer commits suicide or is murdered while writing his last book, MAGPIE MURDERS.
An audio-book listener is drawn into the story of MAGPIE MURDERS but finds the last chapter is missing. The listener’s imagination is suspended. Who is the killer? Horowitz’s fictional editor trails the mystery of the last chapter. While trailing the last chapter, she investigates the suicide or murder of the writer.
Somewhat frustratingly, the listener wants to know who the MAGPIE MURDERS’ killer is. Was the last chapter completed? And then, the listener is drawn into the fictional editor’s mystery of whether the writer purposefully committed suicide or was shoved off a balcony.
At times, MAGPIE MURDERS has too many words. The distracting part of Horowitz’s book is the fictional editor’s digressive readings of other writer’s poorly written stories that show the difference between good and bad writing. Parenthetically, Horowitz explains why writing can be frustrating for financially rewarded authors. Bestsellers are a reflection of commercial success; not necessarily literary quality or contribution. What holds the story together is the listener’s captured desire to know who killed whom. Who is the MAGPIE MURDERS’ murderer? Is there a murderer of the mystery writer?
The audio-book director’s decision to have two narrators, one a woman; the other a man, helps make the experience of the book more understandable. The intertwining mysteries are clearly delineated by the change in narrators. Both mysteries maintain the listener’s interest in Horowitz’s book. The MAGPIE MURDERS is a primer for good writers and an entertainment for mystery fans.