Susan Ryeland thought that she was finished with Alan Conway and publishing after the firm she worked for spectacularly burned down at the end of Magpie Murders. Moonflower Murders, by Anthony Horowitz, takes place two years later. Susan and her partner, Andreas, now run a hotel on Crete. Things…are not going well. The wifi and the electricity are on the blink. Guests run TripAdvisor scams. Susan and Andreas are too busy to do more than argue. When the Trehernes show up at the hotel with a strange offer that involves the deceased Alan Conway, it feels like Susan has been sent a lifeline.
Eight years before the events of Moonflower Murders, a man was brutally murdered at the Trehernes’ hotel. One of their employees was sent to prison. Sometime after that, Conway interviewed the employees of that hotel and wrote one of his celebrated novels featuring his signature detective. Years after that, Cecily Treherne (one of the owners’ daughters) read that novel and announced that the wrong man had gone to prison…only to disappear herself. The Trehernes have come to Susan, Conway’s editor, in the hope that she’ll be able to tell them what Cecily discovered in Conway’s novel. Susan accepts the job—and the £10,000 they offer—and heads off to Suffolk.
Moonflower Murders was a little slow to start. Oddly enough, I was more hooked when Susan started to read Atticus Pünd Takes the Case and I got to read it over her shoulder. I knew as much as Susan about the real murder and Cecily’s disappearance and, while Susan might have the edge because she knew Conway, I relished the challenge of trying to see what Cecily found before Susan did. The last third was electrifying. Once I got past the halfway mark, I couldn’t put Moonflower Murders down.
Really good mystery novels all teach us something, about human nature or crime. Moonflower Murders taught me how we can fool ourselves when we believe we know the facts. Sometimes these facts are a timeline that makes murder impossible. If the dog barked at this time and the phone rang at that time, how is it possible for any of the suspects to do the deed? Sometimes those facts are identities; we trust people when they tell us their names. Why would people lie about their names? All of the detectives (and me, the reader) beat our heads against those facts until a stray thought made us question everything we thought we knew.
Moonflower Murders is a challenging, exciting mystery novel, as long as you can get through the first few chapters while plot elements and characters slot into place.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.