I rarely read murder mysteries because I get so sucked in that I legitimately cannot tear myself away from the book. Yet, I decided to read Anthony Horovitz's Magpie Murders because I hadn't read a mystery in so long and because (honestly) it was available to download on my kindle from the New York Public Library and I needed a book for the train.
It starts with an editor, Susan Ryeland, who has just received the final draft of her writer's mystery novel. She sets down to read it (and so do we). The mystery novel ends right before we find out who committed the murder— and as Susan tries to get the final chapters from her author, she finds out he has mysteriously died. Gasp! A murder story within a murder story.
There's a deep satisfaction in reading a whodunit murder mystery. As Horovitz told NPR, "A whodunit is one of the few types of fiction that dot every i and cross every t, for all fiction is in a way a search for truth. Whodunits give you truth. The final chapter always nails it, closes it down, and you come away with a sense of satisfaction, which I don't think you get in any other sort of book." Yet his Magpie Murders is no typical murder mystery, but, sort of a look behind the curtain of the genre. The plot was inspired by how famous authors came to hate their protagonists (like Arthur Conan Doyle hating Sherlock, same with Fleming and Bond, etc.)
I was genuinely surprised by the murderer at the end, and to discover that Horovitz was the author of my favorite spy series growing up (Alex Rider) (I knew Anthony Horovitz sounded familiar). If you want a good murder mystery and have the time get sucked into a book, this is definitely for you.