Narrator: Rory Kinnear
Series: Hawthorne and Horowitz #4
Published by HarperAudio on November 15, 2022
Length: 8 hrs 31 mins
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In New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz’s ingenious fourth literary whodunit following The Word is Murder, The Sentence is Death, and A Line to Kill, Horowitz becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation—and only one man can prove his innocence: his newly estranged partner in solving crime, Detective Hawthorne.
“I’m sorry but the answer’s no.” Reluctant author, Anthony Horowitz, has had enough. He tells ex-detective Daniel Hawthorne that after three books he’s splitting and their deal is over.
The truth is that Anthony has other things on his mind.
His new play, a thriller called Mindgame, is about to open at the Vaudeville Theater in London’s West End. Not surprisingly, Hawthorne declines a ticket to the opening night.
The play is panned by the critics. In particular, Sunday Times critic Margaret Throsby gives it a savage review, focusing particularly on the writing. The next day, Throsby is stabbed in the heart with an ornamental dagger which turns out to belong to Anthony and has his fingerprints all over it.
Anthony is arrested by an old enemy . . . Detective Inspector Cara Grunshaw. She still carries a grudge from her failure to solve the case described in the second Hawthorne adventure, The Sentence is Death, and blames Anthony. Now she’s out for revenge.
Thrown into prison and fearing for both his personal future and his writing career, Anthony is the prime suspect in Throsby’s murder and when a second theatre critic is found to have died in mysterious circumstances, the net closes in. Ever more desperate, he realizes that only one man can help him.
But will Hawthorne take the call?
First off, Rory Kinnear does a fabulous job as the narrator of The Twist of a Knife. The story is told in the first person by the fictionalized Anthony Horowitz, so hopefully, I’ll never hear the real Horowitz speak, since I’ll expect Kinnear’s voice. Beyond that, though, he does all the characters’ voices well, inserting their personality and feelings into their dialogue.
When I first started this series, I wasn’t a fan of Horowitz inserting himself into the story as the detective’s sidekick, but I’ve changed my mind. The bits of his real-life intermingled with the fictional plot are fun. For example, he really did write a play called Mindgame that really was performed at the Vaudeville Theatre.
As the blurb states, Horowitz is the main suspect this time, accused of murdering a theater critic, and the evidence is mounting. Of course, he turns to Hawthorne, who takes the case. (He has his own reasons for doing so; it’s not just out of kindness.)
This is a pretty traditional mystery. We have an unlikable victim and several suspects, each with their own reason for wanting her dead. Hawthorne is our overly observant detective, the only one who is capable of putting all the disparate clues together. Horowitz works well as his sidekick, especially with his personal stake in the case being solved. The cops are pretty useless, having settled on Horowitz as the bad guy and apparently not looking any deeper.
It’s an engaging mystery with several twists and turns. I tend to enjoy the theater as a setting, too, and the Vaudeville and the cast and crew were fun. I also loved how Hawthorne staged the denoument and why.