Line to Kill
by Horowitz, Anthony

Invited to an exclusive literary festival on an island off the English coast, Hawthorne and Horowitz find themselves investigating a murder amidst a local feud over a disruptive power line.

*Starred Review* Great Agatha Christie's ghost! PI Hawthorne and novelist Horowitz (the fictional version) are trapped on an island with an eccentric group of writers. The oddly dynamic duo return for their third adventure (after The Sentence Is Death, 2019), and this time they travel together to Alderney, in the Channel Islands, for what is billed as an exclusive literary festival. Turns out, not all that exclusive. A popular blind psychic, a TV chef, an aging children's author, a somewhat tedious historian, and a suspiciously behaved (and plagiaristic) poet round out the talent, along with Horowitz and PI Hawthorne, about whom Horowitz is writing a true-crime book. They find a grim welcome from a place riddled with reminders of its WWII occupation by the Nazis, and also in turmoil over a hotly contested power line that will boost the island's economy but ruin the landscape. The man behind the development is the "uniquely offensive" Charles le Mesurier. When he turns up dead, no one is surprised. Or sorry. Horowitz is a master of misdirection, and his brilliant self-portrayal, wittily self-deprecating, carries the reader through a jolly satire on the publishing world. The versatile Horowitz (the real-life version) has produced more than 45 novels, and his fans await each new arrival with bated breath. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Except for the atrocities of World War II, there hasn't been a murder on the Channel Island of Alderney from time immemorial. The staging of the Alderney Lit Fest brings that streak to a decided end. The powers that be at Penguin Random House want to send retired DI Daniel Hawthorne and Anthony Horowitz, the writer who fictionalizes the mysteries Hawthorne's solved, to Alderney. Anthony, always grousing at being treated like a second-class collaborator, is willing to go, and so, surprisingly, is the reclusive Hawthorne. The other luminaries invited to the tiny island include blind psychic Elizabeth Lovell, TV chef Marc Bellamy, war historian George Elkin, children's franchiser Anne Cleary, and French performance poet Maïssa Lamar. No sooner have the festivities begun than Charles le Mesurier, whose online gambling company is sponsoring them, is taped to a chair, with only his right hand left free, and stabbed to death. The limited resources and competence of the local police make the case a natural for Hawthorne, who obligingly circulates among his counterparts long enough to rattle every one of the many skeletons in their closets. But he faces a serious setback when a second murder spurs Deputy Chief Officer Jonathan Torode of Guernsey Crime Services to identify a culprit Hawthorne agrees is highly plausible. How will the great detective cope with being beaten to the punch? Fans of the author's formidable brain teasers, certain that the devil is in the details, will be a lot more confident than he is. The most conventional of Horowitz's mysteries to date still reads like a golden-age whodunit on steroids. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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