Thursday 18 August 2022


Book review: The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz (Hawthorne Investigates #4)

The Hawthorne Investigates series is a contemporary take on Sherlock Holmes. On the one hand you have a genius, but self-centred private investigator and on the other his bumbling sidekick. The twist? In this version, the sidekick is none other author Anthony Horowitz himself. Sure, he's fictionalised in some ways, but there's also a lot of truth in the story, from publisher meetings to references of working on his other books. This approach wonderfully blends reality with fiction, adding an extra layer of enjoyment on top of what's already a fantastic book series.

After following Hawthorne for two murder investigations (and attending a literary festival together), Horowitz is done working alongside the difficult PI. Or so he thinks. He channels his time and energy into Mindgame instead, a play he's written which, after a marginally successful UK tour, gets a limited engagement in London's West End.

However, when a critic who absolutely panned the play is found murdered soon after her damming review goes online – Horowitz suddenly finds himself at the centre of a murder investigation once more. This time as the prime suspect. And the only one that can help him is, of course, none other than Hawthorne.

I cannot express quite how excited I was for the release of this book. Having grown up with Alex Rider and The Power of Five series, Anthony Horowitz has been one of my favourite authors for decades. His writing work is hugely prolific, spanning a multitude of genres across children's and adult fiction, so people can continue enjoying his stories even as they grow older and their reading tastes evolve.

While I already enjoyed his teen novels, they don't come even close to how much I love his adult murder mysteries. Both the Susan Ryeland books (Magpie Murders, now an excellent TV-show on BritBox, and Moonflower Murders) as well as the Hawthorne ones. They're incredibly clever page-turners and just oodles of fun.

With The Twist of a Knife, Horowitz has worked his whodunnit magic once again. Bringing together a good old-fashioned murder mystery, with plenty of suspects and red herrings, and placing it in the cut-throat world of live theatre. It makes for a thrilling, winning combination. And, on top of it all, it's set in the heart of London. The location descriptions are spot-on, making it very easy for the readers to fully immerse themselves in the story, trying to unravel the mystery but (most of the time) being as clueless as the semi-fictional Horowitz at the heart of it all.

As the prime murder suspect, the written version of Horowitz is out of his depth more than ever before, which creates plenty of hilarious situations. The real-life Horowitz has no problem pencilling himself as a bit of a dimwit, which really adds to the charm of the character – and the book as a whole. This is not a gruesome crime noir. Despite the murder that starts it all, this feels like a fairly light-hearted and fun read more than anything else. And that's how I love my murders, with a good dose of humour.

I was so excited to read The Twist of a Knife that I devoured this page-turner in one hot summer's evening. I will, however, return to this story as the cooler months set in. Because this book, and the series as a whole, are the epitome of 'cosy' crime – perfect to cosy up with on a chilly autumn or winter's day.

The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz is published today by Cornerstone (part of Penguin Random House) and you can purchase your copy now from your favourite book shop.

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me by the publisher, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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