Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz
“Featuring his famous literary detective Atticus Pund and Susan Ryeland, hero of the worldwide best seller Magpie Murders, a brilliantly complex literary thriller with echoes of Agatha Christie from New York Times best-selling author Anthony Horowitz.
Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is living the good life. She is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her long-term boyfriend Andreas. It should be everything she’s always wanted. But is it? She’s exhausted with the responsibilities of making everything work on an island where nothing ever does, and truth be told she’s beginning to miss London.
And then the Trehearnes come to stay. The strange and mysterious story they tell, about an unfortunate murder that took place on the same day and in the same hotel in which their daughter was married – a picturesque inn on the Suffolk coast named Farlingaye Halle – fascinates Susan and piques her editor’s instincts.
One of her former writers, the late Alan Conway, author of the fictional Magpie Murders, knew the murder victim – an advertising executive named Frank Parris – and once visited Farlingaye Hall. Conway based the third book in his detective series, Atticus Pund Takes the Cake, on that very crime.
The Trehearnes’ daughter, Cecily, read Conway’s mystery and believed the book proves that the man convicted of Parris’s murder – a Romanian immigrant who was the hotel’s handyman – is innocent. When the Trehearnes reveal that Cecily is now missing, Susan knows that she must return to England and find out what really happened.
Brilliantly clever, relentlessly suspenseful, full of twists that will keep listeners guessing with each revelation and clue, Moonflower Murders is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction from one of its greatest masterminds, Anthony Horowitz.” Find it here on Amazon
I really enjoyed this book. You will enjoy it as well if your mind can keep up with the mental gymnastics you have to perform to remember all the characters. The characters are a bit flat. They are developed well enough, but really all superficial and uninteresting. The story is what is so entertaining. Honestly, it was the mental jog that I enjoyed so much.
You are introduced to Susan Ryeland, (If you read The Magpie Murders, you already know her) a retired publisher living in Greece, running a small hotel on the beach. She is overwhelmed by her busy paradise life and longs to be back in England. She gets her chance when the Trehearnes come to ask her help on a missing persons case. She packs her things and leaves her long time partner Andreas behind. She is our narrator and we are on the hunt with her.
This story has a lot going on in the way of plots and subplots. This is a book within a book. While you are meeting the characters, and trying to determine who is a suspect and who is not; you are then plunged into another book with its own characters. You are just as much pretending to be Agatha Christie as the narrator is, and clues are being dropped for you to find. No matter how many clues I picked up on, I was still pretty surprised at the end. That is obviously the book’s intention. Some details that help you figure it all out, are delayed. Lots of plot twists and turns, just when you think you could have it figured out. You discover you’re wrong.
The book bopped around a lot from character to character, and none of them are incredibly memorable. I enjoyed the hunt. Susan interviews each of the characters. Each time she does you get subtle clues and hints. However, there is so much going on in the way of subplots, some characters look guilty and they are, just not for what you think. These people seem to be mostly rich and unaware of their own poor behavior. Even Susan seems to have a flexible moral stance. She leaves what some would describe as paradise, complaining about her awful life… tut tut. I suppose we all become bored no matter how good we have it. She does find in the end though, she was mistaken and the grass is not greener.
When I tell you there are a million sub plots to distract you from your hunt for Cecily, I mean it. There’s sibling rivalry, adultery, a game of whose child is it anyway, kinky sex, exploitation, blackmail, fraud, theft, police misconduct, attempted vehicular homicide, attempted murder, murder, and probably some more I cant think of.
I honestly read this rather quickly, as I was intrigued. I very much enjoyed the adventure.