About the Book
‘Our deal is over.’
That’s what reluctant author Anthony Horowitz tells ex-detective Daniel Hawthorne in an awkward meeting. The truth is that Anthony has other things on his mind. His new play, Mindgame, is about to open in London’s Vaudeville theatre. Not surprisingly Hawthorne declines a ticket.
On opening night, Sunday Times critic Harriet Throsby gives the play a savage review, focusing particularly on the writing. The next morning she is found dead, stabbed in the heart with an ornamental dagger which, it turns out, belongs to Anthony and which has his finger prints all over it.
Anthony is arrested, charged with Throsby’s murder, thrown into prison and interrogated. Alone and increasingly desperate, he realises only one man can help him.
But will Hawthorne take his call?
Format: Hardback (384 pages) Publisher: Century
Publication date: 18th August 2022 Genre: Crime
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Hmm, how to approach writing a review of a book in which a woman is murdered after writing a negative review? How to resist ‘the pleasure that comes with the twist of a knife’? Just tell the truth, of course.
The Twist of a Knife is the fourth in the author’s crime mystery series featuring ex-Detective Inspector Hawthorne and author Anthony Horowitz in the role of sidekick and, in this case, murder suspect. I really enjoyed the two previous books in the series I’ve read – The Word in Murder and A Line to Kill – and at some point I will get around to reading the second book, The Sentence is Death.
A Twist of the Knife has all the elements fans of the series have come to expect, including the author’s deadpan humour. ‘St John’s Gardens had originally been a cemetery but the dead bodies had all been removed (to Woking, which must have surprised them)’. And when he is arrested, he is sure sales of his children’s books will collapse but that it might help his crime fiction. There are plenty of references to the author’s work – his Alex Rider series, his TV drama Foyles War – and he admits, ‘If there’s a book of mine in a room, it’s always the first thing I’ll see’ but these are balanced by his self-deprecating observations.
Hawthorne is his same old self – taciturn, dismissive of his former colleagues, not afraid to tell a porkie or two to get access to a suspect or when questioning a witness, or to call on the skills of his neighbour Kevin. And Hawthorne’s remarkable observational and deductive skills are once again on display. The author teases us with some more details about Hawthorne’s childhood and private life, although tantalisingly his literary alter ego stops short of further probing even when given an unexpected opportunity. Hawthorne warns him, ‘I don’t want you talking about how and where I live. All right? And I definitely don’t want to read about it in your book’. Oops.
We also learn a few things about Anthony Horowitz, namely that he’s not averse to a bowl of Coco Pops and his library contains five hundred books. (I bet he has more than that really but I completely believe he possesses all the Bond novels and a signed copy of I, Claudius found in a bookshop in Hay-on-Wye.)
The book has a colourful cast of characters, including those appearing in Horowitz’s comedy thriller, Mindgame, the play which attracts such a scathing review from feared theatre critic, Harriet Throsby. Just about everyone has the motive, means and opportunity to have committed the murder but none of them has so much evidence pointing to them as the culprit as Anthony Horowitz. Did he do it or is someone out to get him?
The final act sees Hawthorne create a mise-en-scène reminiscent of an Agatha Christie novel. Has he worked out whodunnit it? Of course he has. Will you have? I very much doubt it.
The Twist of a Knife is another highly entertaining murder mystery, full of wit and invention.
My thanks to Century for my digital review copy via NetGalley.
In three words: Clever, witty, entertaining
Try something similar: A Three Dog Problem by S.J. Bennett
About the Author
Bestselling author Anthony Horowitz has written two highly acclaimed Sherlock Holmes novels, The House of Silk and Moriarty; three James Bond novels, Trigger Mortis, Forever and a Day and With a Mind to Kill; the acclaimed bestselling mystery novels Magpie Murders and Moonflower Murders and the Detective Hawthorne novels, The Word is Murder, The Sentence is Death, A Line To Kill, and the latest A Twist of Knife.
He is also the author of the teen spy Alex Rider series, and responsible for creating and writing some of the UK’s most loved and successful TV series, including Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War. In January 2022 he was awarded a CBE for his services to literature.