Susan Ryeland returns as the 'detective'. She's a retired book editor and now runs a hotel in Crete with her boyfriend. I quite liked her from the first book and was happy to see her again. She's incredibly smart and dogged in her search for the final 'whodunit'.
The Treahornes are guests at Susan's hotel, and they tell her the story of a murder at their hotel in England. A man was convicted but their daughter Cecily believes he was innocent and that the real sulprit might be in the pages of a book that Ryeland edited for now deceased author Alan Conway. (Another of his books was the basis for the first book in this series - Magpie Murders) Susan is ready for a change of scenery and agrees to travel to London, stay at their hotel and see if she can shed any light on things - especially now as Cecily has gone missing.
Okay, that a great starting point, but the plotting of Moonflower Murders is so much more involved than you can imagine. It's absolutely fantastic. There are many, many characters, so readers or listeners will want to pay close attention.
The Treahornes and their employees all seem to be harboring secrets. Susan decides to learn what she can about them all before re-reading the book. And here's the part I love. When she does start reading the book, Horowitz takes us completely into the book. Story within a story. Hard to do well, but Horowitz does it brilliantly. The book is 'Atticus Pund Takes the Cake', a series that Conway penned. Pund brings Hercule Poirot to mind, in mannerisms and methodology. This second murder is just as well plotted as the first. How are the two related? How and what has Conway hidden in his fictional book?
Horowitz is fiendishly clever. I really enjoyed the 'recap' at the end, 'seeing' the clues that I didn't pick up on. The twists, turns, red herrings and more kept me guessing til the last final whodunit . I most certainly didn't figure it out!
Absolutely recommended for those who love 'old school' mysteries, where the answers are in deduction, not DNA. See for yourself - here's an excerpt of Moonflower Murders.