Former editor Susan Ryeland is running a hotel on Crete with her partner when one day she is contacted by the Trehearnes who themselves also run a hotel in England. On their premises, a dreadful murder had taken place years ago which was used by writer Alan Conway as the basis for a successful novel. Since Susan edited Conway’s novels before he died, she might help them because their daughter Cecily has vanished. Immediately before her disappearance, she had read Conway’s novel and obviously was come across some important information related to the crime. As his editor, Susan must know the novel very well so she might be the one to help solve the case. Since she is rather short of money, she consents to come to Suffolk to investigate the circumstances.
After the “Magpie Murders”, “Moonflower Murders” is the second instalment in the Susan Ryeland series featuring the literary detective Atticus Pünd invented by the deceased novelist Alan Conway. Just like in the first novel, we have a novel within a novel which helps to solve a mystery and links two lines of narration. As a reader, you really have to pay attention not to mix up everything since you have a bunch of fictional characters who are represented in the second narration.
Over the last couple of years, Anthony Horowitz has become one of my favourite authors who never disappoints me. He most certainly is a master of complex plots which pay homage to the great crime writers and the Golden Age of crime fiction by respecting Ronald Knox’ “Ten Commandments” of mysteries.
Just as expected, masterly crafted and even though I liked “Magpie Murders” a bit more, an enjoyable read I can only recommend.
Satan has to have a word with Death, somethings wrong with Jacob and for quite some time they got along quite well. But now, Jacob, a poet by devotion, is looking for help in a psychiatric clinic. It is not the first time Jacob is there, but this time, things seem to be serious. While waiting for the doctor, he thinks back to the time when he was a child, first fleeing Yemen with his mother, then finding shelter in a whorehouse in Egypt. Years later his father puts him into a church school in Lebanon. But also newer memories arise, his lovers whom died one after the other, his cat who picked Jacob and his roommate albeit they never wanted to care for a pet. Like this, the evening advances slowly.
Admittedly, I had serious problems finding into the novel. The most problematic was that I could not perceive the different parts as belonging to the same book. The discussion between Satan and Death is quite absurd and funny, here Alameddine can really entertain the reader. Much more interesting but also depressing are Jacob’s memories of his childhood, especially his time in Cairo which, due to the conditions, could have left deep scars and negative feelings but are remembered as a time of being loved and feeling secure. This all is at times interrupted by the poet’s work of art which somehow does not relate at all to the rest and then the actual situation in the waiting room with his roommate sending texts to find out what is wrong.
Rabih Alameddine has a poetic style of writing and to my perception, whenever we move with the plot to the Middle East, no matter which country, his is strongest in his expression and narration. Nevertheless, there was no real development in the character, action I did not expect from the description, but such as it is, I could not really make sense out of the story.