Author: Anthony Horowitz
Published: September 2019 by Arrow (my paperback copy)
Category: Murder, Mystery, Contemporary Fiction, Book Review
“You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…”
These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer. Richard Pryce, found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000, to be precise.
Odd, considering he didn’t drink. Why this bottle? And why those words? And why was a three-digit number painted on the wall by the killer? And, most importantly, which of the man’s many, many enemies did the deed?
The Sentence is Death is the second book featuring Hawthorne and Horowitz. We first meet them in The Word is Murder when ex Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne (who still works as a consultant for the police on occasion, helping with difficult cases) approached Anthony Horowitz. Hawthorne wanted his biography written and persuaded Horowitz to shadow him while working on cases.
Having committed to a three book deal, Horowitz is less than pleased when Hawthorne shows up on set, disrupting the production crew shooting an episode of Foyle’s War without a second thought for the inconvenience he caused.
And then, out of nowhere, a vehicle appeared, a modern, twenty-first century taxi. It wasn’t even a black cab, which might have been adjusted, along with the bus, using CGI.
A well known divorce lawyer, Richard Pryce has been murdered and Hawthorne has been asked to look into the case. He decides it’ll make the perfect second book for Horowitz to write. So, reluctantly, Horowitz is once again cast as Hastings to Hawthorne’s less than charming Poirot.
Horowitz was doing his best to discover more about Hawthorne during the times they spend in each other’s company, but Hawthorne still refuses to be drawn out. He’s very uncommunicative about anything personal or his private life, although intriguingly at least one person they come into contact with seems to know him quite well. Horowitz has no real insight into the man himself. Only that he seems to have no idea of appropriate responses or reactions.
He wasn’t being deliberately offensive. It was just that offensive was his default mode.
The Sentence is Death is narrated in the first person by Anthony Horowitz as himself…the character in the story. A refreshingly different angle in a book, but it works. There are several suspects, each with the motive and opportunity to commit the murder. We follow Horowitz’s reasoning to his own conclusions as Hawthorne keeps his own thoughts and observations very much to himself.
A very engaging, entertaining and enjoyable read with a well constructed plot. Hawthorne and Horowitz, both very well drawn, are complete opposites. I love the interactions between them, the self deprecating humour, and the mix of Horowitz’s reality with fiction. Their methods of crime solving give the story a ‘classic crime’ feel, with several clues, dead ends, unexpected twists, and a very satisfactory conclusion.
Book links ~ Bookshop.org | Hive Books | Book Depository | Amazon |
Anthony Horowitz, OBE is ranked alongside Enid Blyton and Mark A. Cooper as “The most original and best spy-kids authors of the century.” (New York Times). Anthony has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he is also the writer and creator of award winning detective series Foyle’s War, and more recently event drama Collision, among his other television works he has written episodes for Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid. Anthony became patron to East Anglia Children’s Hospices in 2009.
On 19 January 2011, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle announced that Horowitz was to be the writer of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, the first such effort to receive an official endorsement from them and to be entitled the House of Silk.