Another whodunit mystery

A book review by Sebastian Lim

Title: Close To Death
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Publisher: Century
ISBN: 9781529904246

In Close to Death, the fifth book of his Hawthorne and Horowitz mystery series, Anthony Horowitz offers another amazing and complex whodunit mystery that is rife with misdirection and murder.

When an obnoxious resident of the ritzy Riverside Close neighbourhood is murdered, law enforcement officials are left baffled. The remaining residents of the luxury community immediately close ranks as they all had motive to kill the unlikable Giles Kenworthy.

It is no secret that everyone in Riverview Close hates Kenworthy, a hedge fund manager who bought Riverview Lodge from chess grandmaster Adam Strauss when the failure of Adam’s chess-themed TV show forced him and his wife, Teri, to downsize to The Stables at the opposite end of the development.

So, the surprise comes when Kenworthy’s wife, retired air hostess Lynda, returns home from an evening out with her French teacher to find her husband’s dead body. He’s been shot through the throat with an arrow.

Suspects include Richmond GP Dr Tom Beresford and his wife, jewellery designer Gemma; widowed ex-nuns May Winslow and Phyllis Moore; and retired barrister Andrew Pennington, a famous name in Agatha Christie books.

Detective Superintendent Tariq Khan, realising the case is outside his ability to solve, decides to call in Hawthorne and his old friend John Dudley as consultants.

After a brief investigation, they eventually mark the case as “solved”.
Five years later, writer Anthony Horowitz is getting desperate. He has written four crime novels with Hawthorne, mostly by following the detective and chronicling his work.

Now though, Horowitz has a looming publishing deadline for their next book, but the pair haven’t solved a case in months. He then asks Hawthorne to revisit the already-solved Kenworthy case for a ready-made mystery.

Without a doubt, Horowitz (the real-life writer, not the character in his books) is a master of intricately plotted and deeply engaging mysteries, and Close to Death is no exception.

This thriller, however, is structured very differently than the previous works. Rather than having the fictional Horowitz follow Hawthorne’s sleuthing in real time, the pair are reviewing a long-closed case. Still, Horowitz is in the dark for much of the novel, trying to make sense of Hawthorne’s brief recaps and terse explanations.

Horowitz is also deeply curious and suspicious about Dudley, Hawthorne’s previous assistant. Why did the pair stop working
together? Did it have something to do with the Kenworthy murder? Readers will enjoy following Horowitz as he works to unravel the many mysteries that surround this particular case.

Close to Death offers an engrossing and expertly plotted mystery that will challenge and delight even the most well-read mystery fans. All the suspects have secrets to hide.

The clues are there for readers to find, hidden in this Agatha Christie-style mystery. To say more would spoil the string of surprises the real-life author has planted in the story.

A thriller that will appeal to fans of both versions of Horowitz.

Sebastian Lim is an experienced journalist and editor who now runs his own book review blog — The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of The Weekly-Echo.