One Whodunit Nests Inside Another in ‘Moonflower Murders’

All this makes us wish to attempt our personal luck at literary detection. We’ll learn the ebook and clear up the thriller! But Horowitz doesn’t get to “Atticus Pünd Takes the Case” till halfway via “Moonflower Murders.” Until then, Susan meets the events and is greeted with the requisite hostility, evasiveness and prevarication.

Credit…Anna Huix for The New York Times

“I didn’t believe a single word he was saying to me, and the strange thing was, I don’t think he wanted me to,” she says of one among her interviewees, the outwardly charming brother-in-law of the unique homicide sufferer. (The man’s spouse certainly doesn’t need Susan nosing round. “Just go away,” she hisses.)

Just as we’re starting to make sense of the frilly story of Cecily, her husband and their French nanny; the Trehernes’ bitter, less-attractive different daughter; and diverse sketchy relations, neighbors and lodge staff, we get to “Atticus Pünd Takes the Case” and plunge headlong into one other actuality.

This second full novel comes with its personal title web page, dedication, creator’s bio and compilation of vacuously favorable endorsements destined to make a ebook reviewer really feel a bit of sheepish. (“Lock the door, curl up in front of the fire and get into the latest Alan Conway,” says the faux blurb from Good Housekeeping journal. “It won’t disappoint.”)

Conway’s novel, set in the 1950s, options a good looking ageing actress with a good-looking youthful husband and a great likelihood of touchdown a number one half in Hitchcock’s subsequent film, “Dial M for Murder.” Sadly, she is bludgeoned to demise earlier than she has an opportunity to satisfy with the director. (Grace Kelly will find yourself getting the job.)

Alert readers will admire the best way Pünd, the detective employed to analyze, remembers the nice Hercule Poirot, and the way the story itself looks like a return to the comfy mysteries of our youth. (Conway “revered Agatha Christie and often stole ideas from her,” Susan notes.) But I doubt studying “Atticus Pünd Takes the Case” will allow you to clear up the thriller in “Moonflower Murders” any greater than it helped me. The reader’s feeble flashes of understanding aren’t any match for Horowitz’s model of three-dimensional chess, and the solutions might be uncovered solely via Susan’s knowledgeable textual evaluation.

The ebook (the true, full ebook by Horowitz, that’s) is simply too lengthy and virtually too labyrinthine. But getting misplaced in the weeds could be wonderful enjoyable, particularly when the characters begin trashing the very style in which they’re showing.

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