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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Magpie Murders and Moriarty brilliantly reinvents the classic crime novel once again with this clever and inventive mystery starring a fictional version of the author himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes, investigating a case involving buried secrets, murder, and a trail of bloody clues.

A woman crosses a London street.

It is just after 11 a.m. on a bright spring morning, and she is going into a funeral parlor to plan her own service.

Six hours later the woman is dead, strangled with a crimson curtain cord in her own home.

Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric man as quick with an insult as he is to crack a case. And Hawthorne has a partner, the celebrated novelist Anthony Horowitz, curious about the case and looking for new material.

As brusque, impatient, and annoying as Hawthorne can be, Horowitz - a seasoned hand when it comes to crime stories - suspects the detective may be on to something, and is irresistibly drawn into the mystery. But as the case unfolds, Horowitz realizes he’s at the center of a story he can’t control...and that his brilliant partner may be hiding dark and mysterious secrets of his own.

A masterful and tricky mystery which plays games at many levels, The Word Is Murder is Anthony Horowitz at his very best.

©2018 Anthony Horowitz (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alice
  • Pennsylvania
  • 06-26-18

Something New

Anthony Horowitz's new mystery is brilliantly different, compelling, beautifully written, and something new. If you read the genre regularly you will be riveted by the perfection of the story, but more so by the creativity of the form. I believe I read it described as a meta-mystery, and it was indeed a story over a story, and under another story. I couldn't put it down, I'm waiting for a sequel, and the characters will stay with me for a long time. Hawthorne, (clearly a current Sherlock) is one of the best characters I've read for a while, in all of his strange quirky, and at times offensive behavior. It is classic, yet post-modern, but mostly just great reading.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Clever

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was anxious to read it because I had loved Magpie Murders. I do hope we will be reading more about Anthony and Hawthorne.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Follow-up After Excellent "Magpie Murders"

I was a huge fan of Mr. Horowitz after reading "The Magpie Murders". The concept was so unique and the story and mystery had me mesmerized. I didn't let myself get excited about his new book because I didn't see how he could top it. Both books are so different, but excellent in their own way. I may have to listen to them again.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Fei
  • USA
  • 07-11-18

Would have been good as a pure whodunnit

Instead this is more of a story of the improbable and boring relationship between the detective (fictional) and the writer (the author himself) complete with puffs about his upcoming book (real). The detective is a one dimensional character who is gruff and - from beginning to end - talks in monosyllables. It so detracts from the murder investigation that towards the final chapters I no longer cared whodunnit. Strip out the non-murder bits and you would have an interesting read. Too bad there is no refund for half the book.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

I really enjoyed this book.
Had to do a bit of research to see if it was fact or fiction. That is what made it so interesting.
I loved House of Silk and Magpie Murders. This is just as good.
My only criticism is the narrator read too quickly at times. Faster than a person would speak. Made me think I had bumped up the speed.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not the best one

I am a fan of Horowitz's fiction and looked forward to The Word is Murder. The problem with this book, for me, was Anthony, not Tony, has placed himself as the central character. After a few chapters this approach to the story wears thin. The detective in the story is without truly any saving grace and one loses interest in knowing him further. I think this book was between books and after a while, as with all selfies, not compelling.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Felt like an intellectual exercise

I have loved the author’s previous adult novels. This one, not so much. It was hard to warm to any of the characters and without that, it was interesting but not satisfying.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hilarious! Great Story, Great Characters!

Great whodunnit read by the incomparable Rory Kinnear. An “old school” detective mystery well set in current day London. Chockablock with droll cultural references. Homage to Agatha Christie with a whiff of Terry Pratchett. Skillful storytelling that absolutely delivers without taking itself too seriously. Looking forward to more!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Patricia
  • FAIRWAY, KS, United States
  • 07-01-18

Horowitz does it again

I really enjoyed this book and hope it’s just the first in a series. Anthony Horowitz is not just clever but also a terrific writer. I was sorry when the story ended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 08-11-18

Wonder-Filled

Art without wonder is merely craft.

Anthony Horowitz somehow takes a murder mystery, moves around the furniture, then the building, then the entire genre. He's that good. He did that in Magpie Murders (NOTE: It is not THE Magpie Murders - see my review of that CLEVER adventure). And he's done it again - completely differently here in The Word Is Murder (TWIM).

When Horowitz and Kinnear introduced me in TWIM to the annoying Daniel Hawthorne I felt the same startled surprise as when I'd first encountered Sherlock. And while that's transparently Horowitz's idea - TWIM manages to make everything fresh as the first time Canon Doyle introduced intense deductive reasoning into sleuthing.

Yep... I loved TWIM and will continue to buy books by Horowitz particularly if he partners with Rory Kinnear.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful