When Ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, are invited to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, an idyllic island off the south coast of England, they don’t expect to find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation—or to be trapped with a cold-blooded killer in a remote place with a murky, haunted past.
Arriving on Alderney, Hawthorne and Horowitz soon meet the festival’s other guests—an eccentric gathering that includes a bestselling children’s author, a French poet, a TV chef turned cookbook author, a blind psychic, and a war historian—along with a group of ornery locals embroiled in an escalating feud over a disruptive power line.
When a local grandee is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Hawthorne and Horowitz become embroiled in the case. The island is locked down, no one is allowed on or off, and it soon becomes horribly clear that a murderer lurks in their midst. But who?
Both a brilliant satire on the world of books and writers and an immensely enjoyable locked-room mystery, A Line to Kill is a triumph—a riddle of a story full of brilliant misdirection, beautifully set-out clues, and diabolically clever denouements.
Star Rating: 5/5
Let me start off by saying that I’ve never read a book by Anthony Horowitz before. I haven’t read the two Hawthorne novels that came before this, but this one made me a bit curious about the relationship between Hawthorne and Horowitz. I had often seen books by Anthony Horowitz before in bookstores, so finally I decided to go for it. When I bought this book, I didn’t even know that this was the third book in the series. But the good thing is it can be read as a standalone novel too.
This starts off with Horowitz getting an offer to attend a literary festival in Alderney. Hawthorne is invited too since he is the subject of Horowitz’s novel. People are enamoured by Hawthorne and the kind of detective he is. This bugs Horowitz a little, since he gets less attention than Hawthorne. As the writer, he wants equal attention and glory.
When they visit Alderney, they meet some of the speakers of the literary festival. One of them being a chef who wrote a cookbook, a children’s author, a performance poet, a blind psychic and a war historian. Unfortunately, they find themselves suspects in a murder investigation. Since it is a small island where no crime ever happens, the police ask Hawthorne to conduct the investigation.
I love locked-room mysteries and being set on a small island gave this a sense of a locked-room murder mystery. A small group of suspects each with something to hide, that’s the best part about locked room mysteries. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It wasn’t as predictable as some books are in the mystery genre and it was well-written.
There were some red herrings but they were very well plotted, never giving the feeling that they were written just for the sake of it. Most of the characters were well-rounded and there were some plot twists I didn’t see coming. Apart from the central mystery, I also loved Hawthorne and Horowitz’s dynamics. The hint at Hawthorne’s past was also pretty intriguing, which makes me excited for the next book in the series.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone who likes to read murder mysteries, especially that of Agatha Christie. Anthony Horowitz writes in a similar fashion, and you are sure to love this!
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