The thing I most like about the mysteries of Anthony Horowitz — besides their smooth writing, skillful plotting and delightful sense of humor — is this: Horowitz gives you clues. He lays them all out there, and if you are sharp and paying attention, you can solve them. I assume. I never have.

"The Twist of a Knife" is Horowitz's fourth book in the series featuring himself (or a caricature of himself) and a taciturn detective, Daniel Hawthorne. This one doesn't follow the same formula as the previous three, in which Hawthorne solves a murder and Horowitz tags along, hoping to write a successful novel about it all but in actuality just sort of mucking things up.

In this one, Horowitz turns Hawthorne down for a fourth collaboration — and then realizes he needs Hawthorne's help when an obnoxious theater critic is murdered and Horowitz finds himself a suspect.

There's a very Agatha Christie vibe to this novel, which takes place in London with side visits to charming English villages with vicars, and which ends with all the suspects gathered together in a room as Hawthorne dramatically reveals who did it.

All the clues were there. So did I solve it? I did not. But Hawthorne did, and maybe that's enough.

Laurie Hertzel is the senior editor for books at the Star Tribune.

The Twist of a Knife

By: Anthony Horowitz.

Publisher: Harper, 373 pages, $29.99.