In this third episode of ex-detective Hawthorne and his amanuensis (non other than the author himself), the two have been invited to a (quite small) literary festival in Alderney, one of the Channel islands. There is a murder — Charles le Mesurier — a thoroughly unpleasant, wealthy man who made his fortune in online gambling sites. In an Agatha Christie style locked-room murder, the festival guests — a bestselling children’s author, a blind psychic, a French poet, and a TV chef — are prime suspects.
Unfortunately this was just so-so. Decently entertaining — Horowitz always writes well — but the gimmick of writing himself into the book as a sort of sniveling, bumbling, Watson to Hawthorne’s Holmes has gotten old and somewhat annoying. I’m a big fan of Horowitz’ work, and I believe I would enjoy meeting him in real life but not if he were the person depicted in these pages! Additionally, this is one of those books where the detective just “figures it out” at the end and we only sort of had the clues that might have helped. All in all, I read it quickly. It would make a good beach / plane read, but I’m not sure I’ll bother with the next one.