A Line to Kill: A Novel (A Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery) - book cover
Thrillers & Suspense
  • Publisher : Harper
  • Published : 19 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 384
  • ISBN-10 : 0062938169
  • ISBN-13 : 9780062938169
  • Language : English

A Line to Kill: A Novel (A Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery)

The New York Times bestselling author of the brilliantly inventive The Word Is Murder and The Sentence Is Death returns with his third literary whodunit featuring intrepid detectives Hawthorne and Horowitz.

When Ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, are invited to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, an idyllic island off the south coast of England, they don’t expect to find themselves in the middle of murder investigation—or to be trapped with a cold-blooded killer in a remote place with a murky, haunted past.

Arriving on Alderney, Hawthorne and Horowitz soon meet the festival’s other guests—an eccentric gathering that includes a bestselling children’s author, a French poet, a TV chef turned cookbook author, a blind psychic, and a war historian—along with a group of ornery locals embroiled in an escalating feud over a disruptive power line. 

When a local grandee is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Hawthorne and Horowitz become embroiled in the case. The island is locked down, no one is allowed on or off, and it soon becomes horribly clear that a murderer lurks in their midst. But who?

Both a brilliant satire on the world of books and writers and an immensely enjoyable locked-room mystery, A Line to Kill is a triumph—a riddle of a story full of brilliant misdirection, beautifully set-out clues, and diabolically clever denouements.

Editorial Reviews

"An effortless blend of humor and fair play...the often prickly relationship between the Watson-like Horowitz and the Holmes-like Hawthorne complements the intricate detective work worthy of a classic golden age whodunit." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Horowitz is a master of misdirection, and his brilliant self-portrayal, wittily self-deprecating, carries the reader through a jolly satire on the publishing world." -- Booklist

"The most conventional of Horowitz's mysteries to date still reads like a golden-age whodunit on steroids." -- Kirkus Reviews

Readers Top Reviews

The CooksterTimGilli
Rating: 4.2/5 Once again, Anthony Horowitz has penned another hugely entertaining read in this third book of the Hawthorne & Horowitz series. For those people who have not read the first two books ("The Word is Murder" and "The Sentence is Death"), I would say that while it would be nice to have read them prior to reading this one, it is by no means a necessity. If you are unfamiliar with the series, here is a quick background précis. Anthony Horowitz has applied a neat little twist on the genre and appears in his own novels as the sleuthing sidekick to ex-police detective Daniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne now works privately as a consultant to the investigating police force on certain problematic crimes. Anthony Horowitz has been employed by Hawthorne to write up his cases, much as Dr Watson was tasked with chronicling the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The duo do, at times, exhibit characteristics similar to those found in other literary detective teams such as Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings, but it is the comparison with a latter day Holmes & Watson that is generally most fitting. On this occasion Hawthorne & Horowitz find themselves on the island of Alderney as guests at the local literary festival, but when a local bigwig is murdered, Anthony Horowitz once again finds himself observing the investigating prowess of Daniel Hawthorne. There is very much a sense of a "Golden Age" whodunnit about this mystery. The isolated location, the cast of characters and even the inclusion of the map of the island at the beginning of the book are very much in keeping with the works of Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, et al. As he invariably seems to do, Anthony Horowitz (the author rather than his own creation in this book) has constructed a wonderfully engaging and clever murder mystery in the "locked room" style, with plenty of misdirection and not a little humour. The clues are all there - you just need to piece them together.
John Smith
This is the third of the 'Daniel Hawthorne' novels and delves into some quite murky water at times. The author chose to tone down some of the hostility of the character 'Hawthorne', himself, which made for a smoother reading experience than the previous two. I was turning pages as a fair rate (a page every 2 minutes) and could retail all plot details and characters clearly. I actually read through the night for the first time in many years and I was 200 pages in when I called it a day at 7am. Some of Anthony Horowitz's other books have been a bit sloggy in parts, I am thinking of ' Moonflower Murders ' and ' Magpie Murders ' because of the sheer number of characters. Not that I didn't really enjoy those books, I did. I just wish some of the fat had been trimmed away. With this one it feels like it was all scaled back a little and it makes for a better read. I figured out who did it, and why. I worked out all the plot points that were revealed at the end. I am not sure if this is because I have become a seasoned Cozy fan or what, but, I really enjoyed myself regardless. Couple of niggles. Author keeps referring to everyone as being 'fair haired'. All descriptions are minimal. Author thinks putting thee word 'mate!' on the end of everything Hawthorne says makes him working class? The only problem now is that I will have to wait another year before AH puts out another book!
Anthony Horowitz once again stars in his own novel as the bumbling sidekick to ex-detective Daniel Hawthorne. This time the duo have been sent to the Channel Island of Alderney for a small weekend literary festival to promote the upcoming publication of Horowitz's first book featuring Hawthorne. While they are there, a wealthy sponsor of the festival is murdered during a party at his house promoting the festival. Hawthorne is welcomed by the police from nearby Guernsey to help with the investigation and Horowitz follows in his wake taking notes for what could turn out be a new book. There are almost too many suspects for the unpopular victim who was involved in local politics and promoting the installation of an electric power line connecting France to the UK through Alderney, a venture not popular with all on the island. With a colourful set of characters, and plenty of red herrings this is a classic locked room (aka island) mystery where no one can leave. Horowitz and Hawthorne still don't like each other very much and the uneasy dynamics of their relationship adds humour to the plot, in addition to sneaky satirical views on writers, writers festivals and murder mysteries. It's all very well done and highly entertaining.
There are few things more brazen than for an author to choose to expose himself as the sole, first-person narrator in his own crime novel and Anthony Horowitz definitely belongs in that bold elite of contemporary fiction writers as he has already proved by penning books from a variety of different genres. His Alex Rider series made him known as one of the most seminal children's authors of the last decades. The English author and screenwriter has also been involved in numerous hugely successful television productions such as Foyle's War, Poirot, and Midsomer Murders exhibiting his singular talent in creating alluring fictitious worlds and imaginative plotlines that demand the audiences' rigorous attention. Horowitz made his breakthrough in crime fiction with the acclaimed Magpie Murders, a novel paying tribute to the respected mystery writers of the English tradition. A Line to Kill is the third installment in the "Hawthorne and Horowitz Mysteries" following The Word is Murder and The Sentence is Death. The previous two books have been acknowledged as strenuous attempts to reinvigorate a highly glutted genre by introducing an innovative twist in the narrative procedure where the author himself becomes the protagonist. Horowitz writes in first person chronicling stories about murder that he investigates in the company of a peculiar ex-detective and current police consultant Daniel Hawthorne. The two of them form an odd pair that brings to mind the duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, given that Horowitz is essentially the one documenting the action carried out by Hawthorne who employs his impeccable deductive reasoning and unfailing instinct to solve the case at hand. The story begins with Anthony visiting the premises of his publishing house to have a conversation about the upcoming publication of his book The Word is Murder. There, Anthony narrates a story which is based on true facts as he experienced it and reveals the persona of Daniel Hawthorne as the man who was able to crack the case. As the news of his fruitful collaboration with Hawthorne have reached the ears of his agents, Anthony reluctantly agrees to arrange a meeting in order to introduce his companion to the people who are going to put out his work. During that meeting, Horowitz and Hawthorne learn about the existence of a new literary festival taking place in the tiny island of Alderney in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. The publishers convince them to attend in order to promote their impending book and get acquainted with some of the hottest names in the industry. As Anthony and Daniel arrive in Alderney, they meet the fellow participants of the festival and they form a first impression of their characters and idiosyncrasies. The group consists of a French poet, a cookbook author, a children's fantasy writer, a mysterious blind woman...
anthony b.
Fans of the previous Hawthorne books should like this. The character and plot are as good as the last two books and there's a decent sequel hook at the end (when I was wondering if this would by the end of the series), but at the same time, it doesn't really have much that feels like it would be too fun to read over and over again, so why bother spending so much money on the book. Ironically, I spent most of the book suspecting the right person but for completely inaccurate reasons that had to do with a word association that turned out to be completely coincidental and was never even mentioned by the detectives. I was also amused to find out that one innocent character I also began to suspect about halfway through the book was also someone Horrowitz had been unconsciously suspicious of. The clues are all there and are done with the usual finesse, and the denouement is very powerful and emotional, and there's one aspect of it (albiet one I'll avoid specifics about) leaving us a bit unsure about whether justice has been done in the end. If this was the first Hawthorne novel I might have actually liked it better, but I'm used to the characters and style by now, and the setting and characters (although by no means neglected) could have been used just a little better.