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Publisher's Summary

She planned her own funeral. But did she arrange her murder?

Buried secrets, murder and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of Anthony Horowitz's new detective series. If you enjoyed BBC's Sherlock, you'll love The Word is Murder!

A wealthy woman strangled six hours after she's arranged her own funeral.

A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own.

A reluctant author drawn into a story he can't control.

What do they have in common?

©2017 Anthony Horowitz (P)2017 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"The beguiling whodunit plot is dispatched with characteristic elan as Horowitz blurs the line between fact and fiction." ( Financial Times)
"A very clever and inventive mystery." ( Bookbag)
"With its unorthodox protagonist, clever plotting, brilliantly imperfect characters, and escalating sense of urgency and intrigue, The Word Is Murder is an instant crime classic that will keep you reading as fast as you can...one of the best and most compulsively readable mysteries of the year. Hugely satisfying on every level." ( Written by Sime)
"Will undoubtedly exhilarate not only crime and Horowitz fans but anyone who enjoys the sense of metafiction and fourth wall breaking found in books by authors like Lemony Snicket, Bret Easton Ellis and Martin Amis." ( Fiendfully Reading)

What listeners say about The Word Is Murder

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing storyline and excellent narration!

I’ve always loved Anthony Horowitz’s books and this did not disappoint! I loved how he had cleverly written himself in as a character and revealed the
mystery carefully throughout his interactions with the other characters.

Rory Kinnear’s narration was fantastic, giving each character a voice of their own. Definitely enhanced the great story.

Would highly recommend!

3 people found this helpful

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Unengaging, I wouldn't bother.

Although I persisted I lost interest in this audiobook very early.  Both the major characters are dull and somewhat two dimensional as are the minor character. The story meanders but doesn’t really go anywhere to the end when multiple twist occur. There are a lot of minor character and because the story dis boring and somewhat disjointed it can at time be hard to follow as I kept finding my mind going elsewhere. Disappointing!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Liz
  • 24-10-2019

Great mystery! Narration confusing!

I loved the mystery, guessing the murderer correctly but not all the ins and outs. The most confusing part was the narrator (Rory Kinnear) changing the voice he used for Hawthorne part-way through. He goes from a part-Northern, part-Cockney accent (consistent with Horowitz's description) to a tougher and deeper accent. Why??? Other than that, I enjoyed Kinnear's performance.

2 people found this helpful

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So clever. So, so clever. Well done Mr Horowitz.

This is a memorable book deconstructing and then reconstructing the art of writing a murder mystery. It is so cleverly done, that the red herrings and blatant clues become substituted for each other until you try to second guess yourself. I take my hat off to you Mr Horowitz. Your servant Sir.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lee
  • 16-05-2021

Enjoyable and gripping

A good yarn! As a big Sherlock fan, this had a familiar feel about the characters and story development but with its own individual style.

Will read the second in the series. Worth a look in for sure.

1 person found this helpful

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Just bloody brilliantly

Such a great story and from a wonderfully unique point of view.
Totally had me
Hooked.

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Good Story

Not as good as Magpie Murders but good story well written. It left me with an unfinished filling like the book was waiting for its sequel to follow.

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Always a different slant on things ...

Loved this. This is 3rd book by Horowitz i've read. Clever, ingenious plot & characters

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  • Amy
  • 24-11-2018

Not what I expected

I tried this book because I really enjoyed magpie murders and house of silk but this one is quite different and not as enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved this story

Its hard to find enough superlatives with which to describe this book. Essentially the story is part mystery, part memoir and some comments on Horowitz's life in the publishing and television scene that he inhabits in real life. If I had known about this premise prior to listening to it, I might have been put off. But it works wonderfully.
"The Word is Murder" it is a great crime mystery with many twists and turns. The way the author inserts himself into the story works unexpectedly well.
Although Horowitz admits to being an admirer of Sherlock Holmes and some parts of that genre remain as influences, I don't remember Watson being quite so fumbling and accident prone.
Horowitz gives it his best, but could be forgiven for getting confounded by the leads which are presented to him. He is no match for his collaborator "ex D.I, Hawthorne", a somewhat testy man, but far better sleuth.
The narrator of this audiobook was quite brilliant. There were a different voices involved, and I thought he absolutely nailed all of them. Some of the voices were hilarious. He really has an ear for certain character types and renders them with a tiny bit of caricature at times. Just enough to make me laugh.
It could never be done quite as well on television, although I look forward to the story being presented there as well. Hopefully there will be another murder investigation and book, in spite of Horowitz's reservations re further sleuthing with ex D.I.Hawthorne. Perhaps Hawthorne will use his powers of manipulation to persuade Horowitz to accompany him on another assignment. I am so looking forward to the next book and audible presentation.

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  • Needles
  • 23-10-2017

A disappointment

I bought this based purely on the rave reviews, having never encountered the author's work before, but just couldn't get past the first hour.
This is not at all the kind of book I was expecting; it reads like the -very uninteresting- memoirs of a television writer (and going back and re-reading those rave reviews, I suppose that is indeed partly true), and I'm led to believe that this literary device is meant to be somehow "meta", or "post" or even witty!
Sadly, for this reader, it's none of those, it's merely self-indulgent and alienating.
The narrator's flat delivery does little to enliven the dreariness.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sabeer
  • 23-03-2018

Brilliant!

What made the experience of listening to The Word Is Murder the most enjoyable?

A masterfully crafted book by Horowitz and shifts the genre of whodunits by blending in fiction with non-fiction. The central protagonist is the author himself here and over the course of the book, weaves in a murder mystery skillfully introducing the grump detective Hawthorne and a paraphernalia of characters, Christie-style with Holmesian bits thrown in. All in all, a fine and dandy book to read and would tax your grey cells a bit.

Also, brilliant narration! Kudos

Who was your favorite character and why?

The author and Detective Hawthorne, of course

1 person found this helpful

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  • Evan
  • 12-08-2019

Whodunnit out of the top drawer

Watch out for those clues! A detective fiction master class. Excellent narration rounds off a superb story

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  • June
  • 05-01-2019

An addictive read

This is my first introduction to Anthony Horowitz. This was a witty fast paced and quintessential British listen. Daniel Hawthorne enters and dominants the book. All the while we know very little about him. In this we are pulled along on the murder of an elderly woman who six hours prior, made her funeral arrangements. There are quite a few family secrets that are revealed. And it goes in directions that are quite unexpected.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Rory Kinnear. His voice range for male characters was spot on. It was easy to differentiate between characters. He is well-suited for this book.

Would recommend to those who love British crime works or those who like mysteries with a literary bent. This will not disappoint. Plus the next book in series is due out later this year.

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  • Yves Leterme
  • 15-03-2018

great listen !

Where does The Word Is Murder rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the most enjoyable.

Any additional comments?

I loved 'Magpie Murders' and I truly enjoyed this one, too. Good story, well told and narrated - my kind of thing.

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  • Sarah
  • 30-08-2017

The Unemployed Detective

What did you like most about The Word Is Murder?

Great story line, and an unusual approach, so it's part autobiography and part fiction. I liked Horowitz's musings on the world of literature, film and TV. I'm guessing that a lot of of his anecdotes involving famous names are true. And there are probably some in-jokes that went below my radar. Weaved into this is a great story involving an unemployed detective investigating murder with the help, or hindrance, of Horowitz. Some red herrings, plenty of clues to whodunnit and some laugh out loud moments as well I have enjoyed Horowitz's other novels, including his Magpie Murders and takes on Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, and his TV series,such as Foyle's War. I'm even tempted to try his Alex Rider novels for teenagers!I could also see this working as a TV programme, which I'd definitely watch.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Word Is Murder?

Knowing that I'd got the right person, though not the reason

Have you listened to any of Rory Kinnear’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Rory was one of the reasons why I chose this book, as he's an excellent actor, whom I can picture while he's telling the story. He can drop into different accents so it's easy to telll characters apart.

Also, he does a good line in slightly baffled characters and that perfectly fits the author's role in this novel.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, it got me hooked in, and I found myself thinking about the characters and the storyline between listening.

Any additional comments?

Definitely think The Unemployed Detective is a better title.... hope there are more novels from Horowitz about this partnership

23 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-2017

Perfect piece of story telling.

This little masterpiece is a gem. The perfect marriage of a talented author and a gifted narrator. I could listen to Rory Kinnear read Anthony Horowitz all day long. In fact I think I will.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 04-09-2017

The Intriguing Mr Horowitz

I have to say I am really enjoying following this author recently. His latest books have been varied and each has had a distinct character and quirkiness that I have enjoyed. I'm sure that if he keeps up this approach that there will be one that won't quite resonate with me as much as the others eventually, but it hasn't happened yet. In this case he has tried something which I am sure a lot of authors have toyed with but likely been warned off by sensible publishers and editors! including yourself in a work of fiction is certainly a bold step with many pitfalls. Luckily for us I think Horowitz has avoided at least the large majority of them and this emerges as an interesting whodunit in its own right.

After reading the Magpie Murders I commented then that it felt to me like there might be a hint of the autobiographical about it but this takes it to another level. I couldn't help musing about how much of this was based on the author's real-life experiences. For example did he ever get passed over for a big part in a play? What does add to the interest level though is that the author appears to reveal some of his thinking and while I didn't agree with all the opinions expressed it does add something. Mr Horowitz is clearly on an exciting journey with his writing, I'm really looking forwards to following in his footsteps.

Kinnear, is simply perfect providing the voices for this. He is very accomplished making the whole thing a very pleasurable listen. Finally I have to agree with Sarah's review that this does indeed feel "made for TV", I wonder if that's also part of the intent.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 18-01-2020

Unusual approach for the genre

I enjoyed this book. It was so different from the usual murder mystery format.

I found the narration frustrating as the main character's voice seemed to change throughout as if the narrator couldn't quite remember what voice he'd used when he hadn't used it for a few pages. He always remembered eventually but the first sentence was like a musician trying to find the right note, it was off putting. He also seemed bored of the story and this effected my overall view of the writing. I think I'll need to read this book to understand its true worth.

3 people found this helpful

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  • lisasarcy
  • 27-08-2017

Enthralling

I started this with some trepidation, the idea of a novel with its own writer as a character in a fictional story had the potential to be a bit of a car crash. But he really did pull it off. The elements of reality and fiction were pulled together neatly, and I really enjoyed all the overt, and the more subtle, nods to the conventions and the works of the Greats of the Detective genre.

3 people found this helpful

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  • adelenotthesinger
  • 26-08-2017

horowitz and kinnear-a great combination

Had this been a print book i might have skim read a paragraph here and there and missed an important connection. Kinnears marvelous narration kept me focussed on the intricacies of the plot. This is a very well unusually crafted as well as beautifully written detective story. Horowitz's stories will stand the test of time at least as well as Agatha Christie or Conan Doyle from whom he draws inspiration.

13 people found this helpful

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  • M.G.
  • 12-08-2018

Clever book

Very clever, keeps you thinking and a nice dry humour. I highly recommend it : sadly the narrator didn’t work for me , his voice was too harsh .

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr Chops
  • 17-09-2017

Rambling

Wanders off the point and detours so many times I found it impossible to follow. Badly structured, poorly written.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-2017

great book

really enjoyed this book great story great characters really hope there will be alot more

8 people found this helpful

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  • Donna Mac
  • 14-09-2017

Fabulous!

I enjoyed this even more than The Magpie Murders, which I loved. Initially I was unsure about the author himself appearing in the book, but I think that this was, in the end, part of the appeal. It is a wonderful story, very convincing, and a plot of which Agatha Christie herself would have been proud.
Hawthorne and Horowitz make a very appealing detective duo.
The narration by Rory Kinnear is outstanding, one of the best I have heard.

4 people found this helpful

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