‘The Word is Murder’ by A. Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz. As himself in his own book. Certainly not an original idea. But is certainly a first for me. Just shows how less I read. The Word is Murder. A name which till the latter part of the book, does not make any sense. I suppose it is time then to issue my customary warning.

The following content will / may / may not contain precious information about said book which should not be learnt by reading a review. ( So to be clear, should be learnt by reading the book).PS;-(When did ‘learnt’ become a wrong word?).
This SPOILER ALERT was brought to you by Gordon Watson.

The Word is Murder is a book that is not an ode to the past, like its unrelated predecessor, Magpie Murders was. It is a book that does not have a single strand of white hair. Everything is black, with lots of hair gel and screens and  binary numbers whizzing about. It breathes, eats and sleeps in the present. Every single description of every single person and place oozes modernity. TV shows, contemporary books and acting. It certainly feels like a breath of fresh air after the slow, sleepy pace of the ancient story of Magpie Murders. I hasten to add that Magpie Murders was in no way boring.

The Word is Murder is a book that takes an old yet engaging subject of one planning one’s funeral just before one’s death. Fast paced, sometimes emotionally torturing, and all the time, interesting The Word is Murder keeps you engaged and keeps you turning the pages. Even though they are unnecessarily big. The pages I mean. And that’s all you want from a book. Isn’t it? The fact that you long for the next page in that tiny fraction of a few seconds where you finish the current page and have to go to the top again, is all that is needed for an author to be a good one.


The story as I said before is about a woman who plans her own funeral and consequently ends up dead. This invariably has the police baffled. And they are forced into calling a consulting detective, who, refreshingly, is not the first one of his profession. A raw, bad mannered, swear-er, Daniel Hawthorne is an ex-policeman. For reasons, uptil then, untold. But he, is interested in making his cases into books. And here comes in the Watson. Except, here, it is the first two words of this article. Anthony and Daniel embark upon a journey that will uncover hidden truths and forbidden secrets. And sometimes, as it turns out reality is strange than fiction.

And the characters, I have to say are not as clichéd as in the previous book. The main character hated gay people. (Yes. Ready the pitchforks.) But to be true it was refreshing change. Something new is always welcome. Being politically correct all the time is not the way for all characters in all books to go. And it was also nice to see that, it was not just a ploy for us to hate him. I certainly didn’t. I like cynical characters. Though I probably am not one, how much ever I try.  Anthony’s character is probably the utopian character the we love to love. The other characters are all very different yet united by one single characteristic. And that is selfishness.

My only misgiving about this book is that it was just too big. And I don’t mean the length, I mean, literally big. It was such a waste of space and paper. That too in this time and age. The publishing house should do much better next time around. What is wrong with keeping the distance between the edge of the print and the edge of the page to a minimum?

For me, a good book is one where I can clearly visualize what is happening. And here, Anthony outdoes himself. He’s always been very good in making you understand the situation, but here its like you’re right with them. And that perhaps is the beauty of his books. And this one in particular. And may I just say, the cover looks absolutely amazing..



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