Book Review – A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz – Spellbinding
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary (Storyline) – A Line to Kill
Admittedly I’m very late to the Anthony Horowitz party, more for the lack of time than intent! Speaking of parties, there’s one right at the heart of A Line to Kill – one that I’m glad that I didn’t make it to!! The uniqueness of Anthony Horowitz’s writing is that it’s written as himself i.e. an author of crime thrillers who is just putting on record the exploits of retired Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne, as he solves murder mysteries as a Consultant to the Police investigation. It’s written in a first-person narrative, which gives the reader the unique perspective of actually being there during the investigation and being just as baffled as any other onlooker.
Alderney, an island off the south coast of England – part of the Channel Islands, is the setting of the Alderney Literature Festival – which is being sponsored by local business magnate and millionnaire Charles Le Mesurier. Penguin Random House, the publishers of Anthony Horowitz’s crime novels want him to attend with Ex-DI Hawthorne in tow. A usually reticent and publicity-shy Hawthorne agrees rather readily for this lit-fest. Horowitz is a little baffled and unhappy at the same time that Hawthorne might steal his thunder once there, as he is the hero of his crime novels. But nothing doing, the duo head to Alderney.
The other guests to the Lit-Fest – children’s author Anne Cleary, obnoxious Celebrity Chef Marc Bellamy, and his assistant Kathryn, historian George Elkin, visually challenged psychic author Elizabeth Lovell and her husband Sid and Maïssa Lamar – a performance poet from France, all fly together to Alderney. They are put up in the same hotel and the fest begins. In the evening, an extravagant party is being held at the residence of Charles Le Mesurier – the sponsor of the fest. Later in the night, Charles is brutally murdered – duct-taped to a chair, with a letter opener stabbed into his neck! He is found the next morning by his wife Helen when she goes searching for him. Alderney’s first murder since WWII!
Since the Police force in Alderney is anything but, Hawthorne is asked to help out till the regular Police arrive from Guernsey. As he begins interviewing people as to their whereabouts, some startling facts start coming to light. Another guest to the party, Derek Abbott – a repulsive man, is known to Hawthorne (they seem to have a bad history together) becomes a prime suspect. The same afternoon, Helen is found murdered in an abandoned quarry, her head bashed in! Hawthorne discovers that the island locals are engaged in a messy confrontation over a power line passing through the island – from France to England.
The main sponsor of that power line was also Charles, so his death becomes convenient to the protestors. Did anyone of them kill him to stop the project? Or did Derek Abbott kill him over unpaid dues? The whodunit runs circles around your brain at dizzying speed and the ending will slam you in your face!!
Conclusion – Book Review of A Line to Kill
This is delectably old-fashioned – none of the modern technology available helps play any great role in solving the crime. Hawthorne displays uncanny powers of observation, deduction, and intelligence ( a la Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and the likes). You would be kept guessing till the last few pages as to the identity of the culprit. A must-read, in case you haven’t read it yet!
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