Published June 6, 2017 Harper
“When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleeping English villages. A homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s transitional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.
Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Püund investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.”
A murder mystery at a grand old manor house in an English village? Yes please! I love the suspense of meeting each character, liking or despising them, and wondering if they are in fact the culprit! In Magpie Murders, you’ll be left wondering if it was the vicar or local antique store owners-the ex-wife or the jealous lover. A story within a story, a classic whodunit which leaves you turning the pages quickly, needing to know who in fact is the murderer of each story.
I loved Atticus Pünd. He was everything you’d expect a traditional P.I. to be- mysterious and intriguing, damn good at his job. A natural at reading people and seeing what the reader does not. Oh, and he has one heck of a backstory. I was quickly engulfed with the characters and was working through who may be the murderer with Atticus.
You may be asking yourself, “Why haven’t you mentioned the secondary story?” Well, because I believe that Atticus and the Pye Hall murder is the secondary story. Susan Ryeland and the mystery she has to solve is the first. I however, never got as attached to that line. A story within a story can make for a great read, a great book, but shouldn’t each plot/story hold the attention of the reader equally? I found myself wanting more of Atticus and less Susan. The connection between the two was missing something. I found the Atticus story a great book-and the story of Susan a bit predictable.
If you love a good whodunit, I believe you’ll still enjoy the book as a whole.