Magpie Murders

Magpie Murders

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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 best selling crime writer for years, she's intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pund, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan's traditional 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 Pund 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.
Publisher: New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2017]
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780062645227
Branch Call Number: MF HOROWITZ
Characteristics: 236 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Editor Sysan Ryeland realizes the manuscript a famous author gives her contains clues to a real-life murder. The author write for "Foyle's War" and other well-known TV shows.

ArapahoeHannah Jun 11, 2018

An incredible read! Not only is this a story within a story, but the author writes them so well.

The hot mystery of 2017 and more literary than most. Susan Ryeland is convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript she's been given to edit—a real life murder.

Vicky loved "Magpie Murders" and was excited to hear that Horowitz has a new book coming out. "The Word is Murder" will be published in June

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jun 20, 2018

August 06 2017
Pour yourself a cup of English tea, set out a plate of biscuits and prepare to be utterly consumed by this book. If you are a fan of Agatha Christie and English murder mysteries, you will love being taken for a romp through the British countryside where you will encounter vicars, housekeepers, lords and ladies of the manor, police, and two very clever detectives. Yes, two. You see, this novel contains a mystery story within a mystery.You will not be able to put down this book once you begin the ride. NC

ArapahoeHannah Jun 11, 2018

An incredible read! Not only is this a story within a story, but the author writes them so well.

Apr 08, 2018

I found this book rather tiresome and way too "clever" for my taste. The author seems to be showing off rather than trying to write an enjoyable mystery. I did not like any of the characters, so I did not care what happened to them. The book is too long and involved; it is not worth the time I spent reading it.

The concept is interesting; there is a mystery within a mystery, as a manuscript of a murder mystery has been delivered to a publisher, and then the author dies suddenly in what could be an accident but might be foul play. The book contains both the manuscript and the surrounding story, and the two are interrelated. That sounds like it would be really good, and I was looking forward to reading it. Somehow it misses the mark; I finished the book, but it was unsatisfying.

There are a zillion references to Agatha Christie mysteries and some other mysteries. I am sure there are readers who would love this book, but I am not one of them.

Mar 22, 2018

A love letter to mid century mysteries and novelists. If you enjoy Agatha Christie and contemporaries, you'll really enjoy Magpie Murders. Not the most compelling or fast-paced read; but decent writing from a clever author.

Mar 21, 2018

The interesting device of this book is the mystery novel within a mystery novel. At times I forgot which mystery I was reading. But I found it engaging and fun though it did seem like it borrowed quite a bit from Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. The only thing I didn't like was the clumsy deus ex machina at the very end. That I thought was a huge disappointment considering the excellent writing that preceded it.

DPLcatherine Mar 16, 2018

If you love solving murder mysteries, wouldn’t it be great if your biggest clue was another murder mystery? Metafiction for lovers of traditional mysteries with relatable characters and just enough twists to keep things interesting.

Feb 26, 2018

I enjoyed most of the novel, but the disclaimer at the beginning was unwarranted. When I re-read it after finishing the book, the character did say that it was life-changing for her (which it was), but there was no reason to warn other readers. It certainly didn't stand out as one of the best books I've ever read, and most definitely was not life changing.

Feb 22, 2018

I read this over two days and even then had a difficult time keeping track of all the characters/suspects in two different mysteries; it’s easy to forget why the various characters would be considered suspects and I thought about making notes to refer back to. But instead I made the effort to read through it as quickly as possible. Overall, well-written with two interesting plots.

Feb 15, 2018

A fun throwback to golden-age English mysteries . Book editor Susan sits down to read the manuscript for the latest novel featuring fictional detective Atticus Pund. We read along with her, but as the story speeds along to a climax, Susan discovers that the final pages of the manuscript are missing, Susan's publisher boss has received a suicide letter from author Alan Conway, and he has been found dead. As Susan tries to find the missing manuscript, she begins to suspect Conway may not have ended his own life.

The literary mystery reminds me of A.S Byatt's novel Possession (one of my all-time favorites) as different documents offer clues to Conway's life and possible motives for his death. The plot is highlighted by comedic glimpses into the world of contemporary publishing, including the real life grandson of Agatha Christie as a character, the premise of an author trapped by his own success, and ruminations on whether murder mysteries are literature or junk.

But I found Susan to be a disappointing protagonist. It seemed unbelievable for a book editor to be more interested in her amateur murder investigation than in tracking down the missing manuscript. And the choice she made to resolve her personal life was a letdown.

When we finally do read the once missing pages, the ending to the Atticus Pund mystery is quite clever. I was able to guess both "whodunnits" , but was surprised by additional plot twists related to motive. Though the motive for Alan Conway's murder is a bit silly, it leads to a highly suspenseful climax.

A cautionary note for E-Readers: make sure to begin reading at the "Magpie Murders" title page or at the table of contents. My digital copy loaded and opened at the title page for Alan Conway's manuscript, bypassing the "Crouch End, London" chapter.

Feb 13, 2018

I feel as if this novel should come with a disclaimer. It would go something like this: "Warning, the book you are about to read requires a surplus of long-suffering from its reader." The interruptions are jarring, but the novel is so brilliant I could not rate it anything under 4.5 stars. You have been warned ;)

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Arapahoe Libraries

To Top