When Diana Cowper is brutally murdered only six hours after planning her own funeral, ex-policeman Daniel Hawthorne is called in to advise on a case that is baffling the police. She clearly knew her attacker and let him in, but why was she killed? And did she know what was about to happen to her?
This is an unusual detective story by Anthony Horowitz; not because of the crime/investigation (it’s your usual mix of red-herrings and dead-ends followed by the dramatic revelation of the culprit), but because of the narrative style. Horowitz places himself into the narrative, writing as if this is non-fiction and he is playing Watson to Hawthorne’s Holmes. And Hawthorne is quite clearly styled on Holmes: brilliant at deductions but dreadful socially, with plenty of arrogance.
The thing is, for me, the narrative style just didn’t work. It wasn’t so much having a writer as narrator that caused me issues, but the amount of name-dropping and references to real TV shows/books/celebrities. It just felt wrong for the book. Some might love it, and the crime plot worked perfectly well, but for me it just fell a little flat.