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A LINE TO KILL by Anthony Horowitz: Book Review

Author surrogate.  That’s the term used to describe a fictional character based on the author, a term I had to Google.  That’s what Anthony Horowitz (author) does in the third Hawthorne and Horowitz (character) mystery, A Line to Kill.  On Horowitz’s Amazon page, this book, along with the two previous novels in the series, has a colon after the title that modestly places his fictional character before his real-life self.

In A Line to Kill, Anthony Horowitz (character) is working on his second book featuring himself and detective Daniel Hawthorne.  Tony views himself as the most important member of the investigating duo, with Hawthorne solving the case but nevertheless of lesser importance.  That, however, is not how his publisher sees it, nor do the people who interview him, and he’s upset by this.

He thinks he’ll get a bit of his own back, as the Brits say, when both men are invited to a literary festival in Alderney, a small Channel Island located between England and France.  Hawthorne, for some strange reason, is excited about attending his first festival, Tony less so since the novel they’ll be speaking about hasn’t been published yet.  But publicity is publicity, Tony tells himself, so they travel to the island and meet the others who will be presenting.

Marc Bellamy is a well-known chef and author of the Lovely Grub Cookbook; Elizabeth Lovell has written Blind Sight, in which she explains how her psychic powers are enhanced by her inability to see; George Elkin is an historical writer and author of The German Occupation of the Channel Islands 1940-45; Anne Cleary pens a best-selling series of adventure stories for youngsters; and Maïssa Lamar is a poet writing in the almost extinct Cauchois language.  It’s definitely a mixed bag of celebrities and semi-celebrities.

Alderney is such a small, peaceful island that it doesn’t have a police force of its own.  So perhaps it’s fortunate that Hawthorne and Horowitz are on the scene when a murder occurs the second day of the festival.  Charles de Mesurier, the financial backer of the event, was stabbed to death, and there is no dearth of enemies to be investigated.

The big issue on Alderney is a proposed power line linking France and England, the route going through the island.  De Mesurier was a proponent of the project, whether because, as he publicly said, it would be good for Alderney or because, as the opponents of the power line said, it would be good for him.  Is his advocacy of this issue the cause of his death, or is there another motive?

Anthony Horowitz is an exceptionally prolific and gifted writer, as evidenced by his YA series about Alex Ryder, a 14-year-old-boy who becomes a spy; Foyle’s War, a 28-episode mystery series set during and after World War II; several stand-alone novels; and the Hawthorne/Horowitz series.   A Line to Kill is a terrific addition to this series.

You can read more about him at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

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