Good Reads Review: Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz
**spoiler alert** A name familiar to many, the talent Anthony Horowitz possesses when it comes to mystery and thriller writing is no secret. He’s a man who is behind some of the best books and TV shows of the last twenty years–you need only look at the fact that he is the brains behind Foyle’s War and the Alex Rider series, and that he has even tackled the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and James Bond, to see his incredible talent for mystery fiction.
A big reason as to why he has been able to achieve such success is because of his focus on the pure fundamentals of the genre; his style of crime writing is not flashy, but incredibly easy to read and get drawn into. His focus on simplicity makes his stories endlessly enjoyable to read, but also means that he can draw the reader to focus on the big machinations going on beyond what’s on the page. And yet, he still finds a way to surprise you. He’s simple and direct, and is very, very good at it.
This second book in his Susan Ryeland series continues Horowitz’s winning form, with a similar story-within-a-story setting to the first in the series, Magpie Murders. Following on from the fallout of the first book, the former amateur sleuth and publisher finds herself jointly owning and running a hotel in Crete with her long term Greek boyfriend, Andreas Patakis.
Whilst done with the intention of leading a more idyllic lifestyle and to invest in Andreas’ dream, it turns out that, for Susan, the day-to-day activities of running the hotel are anything but idyllic. So, when she is approached by Lawrence and Pauline Trehearne to look into the disappearance of their daughter, Cecily, Susan takes the opportunity as a chance to escape this rut.
What follows is a classic whodunnit story of two intricate and complex murder mysteries, as Susan puts the pieces together and follows clues and suspects, including reading a story of Alan Conway’s Atticus Pund. As she meets and follows current suspects, it becomes clear that a hunt for a dangerous double killer may be emerging.
Moonflower Murders unravels itself in a devilishly delightful style, with Horowitz’s style feeling reminiscent of the great crime writers like Agatha Christie. While the story may not look to challenge and subvert expectations around this crime writing formula, it remembers what makes this style so effective in the first place. The book almost feels like a tribute to the golden age of crime novels, complete with a classic Poirot style ending! No better is this the case than with the continuation of Susan Ryeland as a character, who is a great lens through which to view and analyse the information as the story unfolds.
If you are looking for a game-changing, genre-bending book in the world of detective stories, you won’t find that with this book. But, while some other attempts to stab at the traditional detective fiction tropes often fall into cliche or melodrama, Horowitz’s focus on engaging storytelling makes this feel fun and fresh. A book that sleuth-devourers everywhere will enjoy, Horowitz knocks it out of the park again with Moonflower Murders!
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