“You must know that feeling when it’s raining outside and the heating’s on and you lose yourself, utterly, in a book. You read and you read and you feel the pages slipping through your fingers until suddenly there are fewer in your right hand than there are in your left and you want to slow down but you still hurtle on towards a conclusion you can hardly bear to discover.”
Magpie Murders provides just this feeling. It is a delightful and uniquely composed mystery novel that completely absorbed my attention and I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough. Not only is it a compelling mystery but also a novel within a novel that brings the reader on quite a journey. It is told from the perspective of Susan Ryland, an editor for a small publishing company who works on a widely successful mystery series written by Alan Conway. The series follows detective Atticus Pünd and its style is very much an homage to the works of Agatha Christie, and although the books are popular, the author himself has developed a reputation for not being the most likeable person. While editing the author’s latest novel, Magpie Murders, Susan starts to think that there may be more behind the story, something that is very much based in reality, which leads her to embark on an investigation with life-changing consequences.
“As far as I’m concerned, you can’t beat a good whodunnit: the twists & turns, the clues and the red herrings and then, finally, the satisfaction of having everything explained to you in a way that makes you kick yourself because you hadn’t seen it from the start.”
As a fan of whodunnits, Magpie Murders really hit the mark for me. The characters are distinct and memorable, the mystery (or rather mysteries) is intriguing, and the list of suspects is clearly laid out. What makes this book a unique reading experience is the novel within a novel format, which is done in a way that I’ve never read before. An aspect of this may come across as rather frustrating but really in the best way possible, and only added to the eagerness to see how it will all unfold. I would highly recommend Magpie Murders to fans of good old fashioned whodunnits who I think will truly appreciate the experience as a whole. A noteworthy mystery novel that pays homage to the genre.