Bestseller Horowitz’s masterly sequel to 2017’s Magpie Murders finds Susan Ryeland, who misses her previous work as a London book editor and publisher, discontent in her new life running a struggling hotel in Crete. Then she’s visited by Lawrence and Pauline Treherne, the owners of Branlow Hall, an upscale Suffolk hotel, who think she can help in finding their missing daughter, Cecily. Cecily disappeared shortly after calling her parents to say that an injustice had been done. At the time of Cecily’s wedding at Branlow Hall a decade earlier, Frank Parris, a hotel guest, was bludgeoned to death in his room. One of the staff, Stefan Codrescu, was convicted of the murder based on powerful circumstantial evidence. Cecily told her parents on the phone she was convinced of Stefan’s innocence after reading a mystery inspired by the Parris murder by the now deceased Alan Conway, one of Susan’s authors. Susan accepts the Trehernes’ generous fee and travels to Branlow Hall to investigate, which involves looking into Parris’s death and rereading the Conway novel for clues. Horowitz, who matches a baffling puzzle with a sympathetic, flawed lead, has never been better at surprising the reader and playing fair. This is a flawless update of classic golden age whodunits. Agent: Jonathan Lloyd, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Nov.)
A. J. Finn
Moonflower Murders showcases Horowitz’s full battalion of strengths: the whiplash plotting, the leather-smooth prose, the bold energy… and above all, the bright spark of joy that ignites the best fiction — the joy of a storyteller finding brave new ways to dazzle his audience. Sophisticated, literate novels aren’t supposed to be so much fun.
Managing a small hotel on a Greek island, retired publisher Susan Ryeland is getting restless when her new guests announce that their daughter Cecily was married in a Suffolk coast hotel where a notorious murder took place—on the same day as the wedding. Susan's late author Alan Conway based a mystery on the murder, and Cecily, who read the book and is convinced that the wrong person was convicted of the real-life crime, is now missing. Obviously, Susan leaps to investigate. Bringing back characters from the New York Times best-selling Magpie Murders. With a 200,000-copy first printing.
Susan Ryeland, the book editor who retired to Crete after solving the mind-boggling mysteries of Magpie Murders (2017), is enticed to England to try her hand at another Chinese box of a case.
Eight years ago, the wedding weekend of Cecily Treherne and Aiden MacNeil at Branlow Hall, the high-end Suffolk hotel the bride’s parents owned, was ruined by the murder of Frank Parris, a hotel guest and advertising man who just happened to be passing through. Romanian-born maintenance man Stefan Codrescu was promptly convicted of the crime and has been in prison ever since. But Cecily’s recent disappearance shortly after having told her parents she’d become certain Stefan was innocent drives Lawrence and Pauline Treherne to find Susan in Crete, where they offer her 10,000 pounds to solve the mystery again and better. Susan’s the perfect candidate because she worked closely with late author Alan Conway, whose third novel, Atticus Pünd Takes the Case, contained the unspecified evidence that convinced Cecily that Detective Superintendent Richard Locke, now DCS Locke, had made a mistake. Checking into Branlow Hall and interviewing Cecily’s hostile sister, Lisa, and several hotel staffers who were on the scene eight years ago tells Susan all too little. So she turns to Atticus Pünd Takes the Case, whose unabridged reproduction occupies the middle third of Horowitz’s novel, and finds that it offers all too much in the way of possible clues, red herrings, analogies, anagrams, and easter eggs. The novel within a novel is so extensive and absorbing on its own, in fact, that all but the brainiest armchair detectives are likely to find it a serious distraction from the mystery to which it’s supposed to offer the key.
The most over-the-top of Horowitz’s frantically overplotted whodunits to date—and that’s no mean feat.