I enjoyed and loved The Word is Murder (2018, Arrow) , the first in the detective Daniel Hawthorne series and was delighted when this second book landed on my desk.
In The Sentence is Death (2018, Century), by best-selling author Anthony Horowitz, Richard Pryce, a high profile divorce attorney, is murdered in his home, bludgeoned to death with a three thousand pounds bottle of wine, which is strange as the victim did not drink alcohol. Even stranger: written on the wall near the body there is something written. Hawthorne and Horowitz are called to investigate.
As usual when it is about Horowitz, I was hooked from the onset and could not put the book down. Amusing and appealing characters (quite varied cast and although any of them is explored in depth there is a feeling that you know them), a suspect, two seemingly accidental deaths, secrets, a past, corrupt detectives and a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into shooting drama TV series Foyle's War made this a compelling, addictive read and a astonishing addition to an fascinating series. There was a brief moment of uncertainty when I wondered if the mystery was going to be too predictable (this always happen when it is about a murder: you always think that you know who the assassin is), but I should have known better because not only did the plot go in a completely different unexpected direction but there was also a surprising revelation at the last second.
The viewpoint of The Sentence is Death is skewed in a way that is fresh to this reader. The murder mystery itself is actually quite pedestrian and follows the usual tried and tested pathways of the genre ––very Agatha Christie and Doyle. The fact is that whilst this is ostensibly a book about a murder and the subsequent investigation, really it is a book about people and perceptions.
I have met Anthony Horowitz a few times now and I can say that he is one of the nicest humans on Earth and I just adore the way he pokes fun at himself. There are some hilarious moments as Horowitz not only attempts to outwit and solve the enigma ahead of Hawthorne but also tries to discover more about the man as a person. Hawthorne is as usual repulsive and aimless as the first time we met him, annoying Horowitz from his first appearance.
Just like The Word is Murder I cherish the chosen title The Sentence is Death, and how it was woven into the plot.
Horowitz is my number one writer. The king of the modern murder mystery. The king of writing.