Monday, July 8, 2019

The Sentence Is Death by Anthony Horowitz

In the second of the cases of Anthony Horowitz and former Scotland Yard detective Daniel Hawthorne, the case seems fairly easy at first.  A prominent divorce lawyer, Richard Pryce, is found murdered in his house, bludgeoned and then stabbed with a very expensive bottle of wine.  Pryce had just finished a case where a billionaire real estate developer had divorced his wife, an author of obscure literary fiction novels.  She had come out on the losing side and had expressed her fury at Pryce by pouring wine over his head in a restaurant and stating that he should be glad it wasn't a bottle.  Now he has been murdered by that very method.

But is the novelist his only enemy?  Soon it is revealed that his husband has been having an affair, and Pryce was talking about changing his will.  It also emerges that Pryce and two school friends had been caught in a horrific caving accident six years before; an accident from which one of the men never emerged.  Is Pryce's death tied to this accident?  It turns out that the other survivor died the day before Pryce in suspicious circumstances also.

Hawthorne, of course, is being Hawthorne, refusing to tell Horowitz anything he thinks and delighting in keeping him in the dark.  That's usually just depressing but this time it's dangerous.  The detectives nominally in charge of the case are furious about Horowitz and Hawthorne being called in and are determined to take all the blame.  The women in charge targets Horowitz and demands he tell her everything they do.  She has the ability to cause havoc in Horowitz's professional life and he isn't sure what to do.  Can the crime be solved?

This is a delightful novel, an interesting change of pace from the usual detective series.  The interplay between Horowitz and Hawthorne is always interesting and the tidbits about Horowitz's life are fascinating; his TV series, his various novel series, etc.  Hawthorne is still very reserved about his personal life, but a few more details emerge in the novel.  The reader is left with a satisfying mystery and the hope that more cases in this series will appear.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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