About the Book
‘I couldn’t see the sea from my bedroom but I could hear the waves breaking in the distance. They reminded me that I was on a tiny island. And I was trapped.’
There has never been a murder on the island of Alderney. But as writers gather for a brand new literary festival a killer lies in wait. An island full of secrets is about to become an island full of suspects…
Private Investigator, Daniel Hawthorne and the writer, Anthony Horowitz have been invited to the festival to talk about their new book. Very soon they discover that dark forces are at work. Alderney is in turmoil over a planned power line that will cut through it, desecrating a war cemetery and turning neighbour against neighbour. And the visiting authors – including a blind medium, a French performance poet and a celebrity chef – seem to be harbouring any number of unpleasant secrets.
When the festival’s wealthy sponsor is found brutally murdered, Alderney goes into lockdown and Hawthorne knows that he doesn’t have to look too far for suspects.
There’s no escape. The killer is still on the island. And there’s about to be a second death…
Format: Hardcover (384 pages) Publisher: Century
Publication date: 19th August 2021 Genre: Crime
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This book is tremendous fun with plenty of in-jokes and gentle jibes at the publishing industry as well as the author himself. I particularly enjoyed the opening scene in which, with his customary self-mockery, Anthony Horowitz attends a meeting with his publishers to discuss publicity for his book The Word is Murder (the first book in the series) and finds they are much more interested in Hawthorne than they are in him.
Throughout the book, Hawthorne displays observational and deductive skills that would give even Sherlock Holmes a run for his money. Horowitz constantly reminds himself that, when it comes to solving crime, he is not in Hawthorne’s league and his role is merely that of chronicler of Hawthorne’s genius. Of course, in actuality, Hawthorne is Horowitz’s creation and therefore any brilliance displayed by Hawthorne is the author’s own. At one point, as Hawthorne examines the evidence, Horowitz asks, “Do you know who killed him?” and Hawthorne responds, “Is this for the book?” Slipping into author mode Horowitz reassures him, “Don’t worry. If there is a book, I’ll leave the resolution until the last chapter.” So I loved the fact that the penultimate chapter is entitled ‘Keep Reading’.
Alongside the humour, A Line To Kill is also an ingenious and intriguing murder mystery. There is a plethora of suspects and possible motives, and the island of Alderney, accessible only by plane or ferry, plays the role of the ‘locked room’ so beloved of crime writers. And, of course, not everyone turns out to be who they claim to be.
The final chapter proves an author is always thinking about that next book and trying to come up with a title. In Anthony Horowitz’s case, this has to be one with a grammatical allusion like previous books in the series, having already ruled out the suggested Hawthorne Investigates. I for one certainly hope there is another investigation for Hawthorne and Horowitz before too long.
My thanks to Anna Gibson at Cornerstone for my proof copy. A Line to Kill is book 18 in my 20 Books of Summer 2021.
In three words: Clever, witty, ingenious
Try something similar: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
About the Author
The author of the bestselling teen spy series, Alex Rider, Anthony Horowitz is also responsible for creating and writing some of the UK’s most loved and successful TV series, including Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War.
He has also written two highly acclaimed Sherlock Holmes novels, The House of Silk and Moriarty, two James Bond novels, Trigger Mortis and Forever And A Day, and two bestselling crime novels, The Word is Murder and The Sentence is Death, starring Detective Daniel Hawthorne.
In 2016 he wrote Magpie Murders which became a bestseller around the world, and was the recipient of eight literary awards in Japan. Moonflower Murders, published in August 2020 continued the story.