Narrator: Rory Kinnear
Series: Hawthorne and Horowitz #3
Published by HarperAudio on October 19, 2021
Length: 8 hrs 50 mins
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The New York Times bestselling author of the brilliantly inventive The Word Is Murder and The Sentence Is Death returns with his third literary whodunit featuring intrepid detectives Hawthorne and Horowitz.
When Ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, are invited to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, an idyllic island off the south coast of England, they don’t expect to find themselves in the middle of murder investigation—or to be trapped with a cold-blooded killer in a remote place with a murky, haunted past.
Arriving on Alderney, Hawthorne and Horowitz soon meet the festival’s other guests—an eccentric gathering that includes a bestselling children’s author, a French poet, a TV chef turned cookbook author, a blind psychic, and a war historian—along with a group of ornery locals embroiled in an escalating feud over a disruptive power line.
When a local grandee is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Hawthorne and Horowitz become embroiled in the case. The island is locked down, no one is allowed on or off, and it soon becomes horribly clear that a murderer lurks in their midst. But who?
Both a brilliant satire on the world of books and writers and an immensely enjoyable locked-room mystery, A Line to Kill is a triumph—a riddle of a story full of brilliant misdirection, beautifully set-out clues, and diabolically clever denouements.
The hook here is that Horowitz has written himself into the book, a Watson figure to Hawthorne’s Sherlock. It seems a silly conceit to me. I guess it lets him mention his other work, but we all know this is a fictionalized version of Horowitz, basically a character, so I don’t see the point.
Anyway, this time around Horowitz and Hawthorne are sent to the island of Alderney for a small weekend literary festival. And of course, while they’re there, someone is killed – a wealthy sponsor of the festival, murdered at his own house party. The island is locked down, no one allowed on, no one allowed off, while the police, with Hawthorne’s help, try to figure out who the killer is. Everyone on the island seems to have a reason to want the man dead.
The house party/isolated island gives us a limited number of suspects, but everyone here has a secret and there are red herrings galore. Horowitz and Hawthorne still don’t seem to like each other and the tensions in their relationship add some humor to the story. Hawthorne’s like most fictional detectives, he allows you to see the clues but doesn’t let you in on what they mean until the end and Horowitz the character has little idea of where the solution is heading. The peeks at the book industry and writer festivals were fun too.