This book, the third in a series featuring the fictional detective Daniel Hawthorne, a Sherlockian consulting detective if there ever was one, and his very own Dr. Watson — Anthony Horowitz himself. It’s an amusing conceit, with Horowitz giving an author’s views of publishers, literary agents and literary festivals. And the book is an enjoyable romp, with many twists and turns and a cast of (mostly) genuinely unlikeable characters.
Set during a literary festival on Alderney, one of the channel islands, it is your classic British country house mystery where any number of characters could be the murderer. I won’t say more, but it was enjoyable and I for one did not correctly guess the identity of the killer.
I have one gripe about the book, however. “There has never been a murder on Alderney.” This line appears in the text, on the cover and in all its publicity.
But of course it is not true — Alderney is the scene of the largest mass murder ever to take place on British soil. I’m referring, of course, to the mass murder of slave labourers by the Nazi Germans who occupied the island during the Second World War. An estimated 700 innocent people were murdered there. Horowitz knows this; he makes a couple of passing references to the German occupation and the crimes that took place there. I wonder how that line slipped through.