magpie    The holidays are a great time to be indulging in my favourite literary genre – which happily turns out to be the main focus of the year 13 English Literature exam.

This half term I have read the fantastic ‘Magpie Murders’ by Anthony Horrowitz. I bought it in hardback (unusual these days) since I am a long standing fan of his crime writing. His adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes stories ( ‘House of Silk’ and ‘Moriarty’) Have pride of place in the crime section of my bookshelf. (Yes I really do have a crime section!). This novel is an absolute gift for those of you studying crime this year as it is a metanovel highlighting many of the classic features of the genre. At its centre is a pastiche of Golden Age detective stories, which asks us to consider what it is the continuously draws readers to the subject of murder as a form of entertainment. This is framed by a further narrative, where the book’s editor is herself drawn into a modern ‘Whodunnit’ when the fictional creator of ‘The Magpie Murders’ is found dead – pushed from the turret of the pseudo-gothic mansion where he lives and writes.

The book is on the Guardian’s round up of Thrillers The Best Recent Thrillers and I certainly plan to read ‘The Mistletoe Murders’ collection by P D James over the festive season.