Anthony Horowitz: From childhood escapist stories to best-selling thrillers
Anthony Horowitz’s own life has been as shrouded in mystery as one of his thrillers. For example, how did his wealthy Jewish father amass his great fortune, and what happened to the fabulous legacy after his sudden passing? These questions remain tantalizingly unanswered.
These enigmas gave him impetus to write his horror, spy or mystery stories, which have made him one of the most prolific and successful writers in the UK. Growing up, Horowitz acknowledges being an unhappy child and a victim of bullying, so he wrote stories to escape. Children’s books have been his forte because they involve inventive storytelling, pace and escapism, but he has been just as unusually successful with his adult books- as well as writing TV series, films, plays and in journalism.
His bestselling teen spy series, Alex Rider, has sold more than 19 million copies worldwide. His acclaimed series The Power of Five is about five 15-year-olds taking on the Old Ones to save the whole of humanity. The last book in the series, Oblivion, was hugely anticipated.
The humorous series called The Diamond Brothers chronicles the adventures of the world’s worst private detective, Tim Diamond, and his younger brother, Nick Diamond, “considerably more intelligent”.
In November 2011 came The House of Silk, a new Sherlock Holmes novel Horowitz was commissioned to write by the Conan Doyle Estate and Orion Books. It was internationally lauded as the top title of the autumn. Moriarty, its sequel, was published in October 2014 with similar success.
Horowitz is also the only writer so far to have been commissioned by the Ian Fleming Estate to write two James Bond novels. Trigger Mortis came out on September 2015 and Forever and a Day in May this year.
Horowitz is also the writer of some of UK’s most beloved and successful television series. He wrote the first seven episodes of the phenomenally successful Midsomer Murders, whodunits set in the picturesque but deadly villages of the fictional county called Midsomer.
He is the writer and creator of award-winning drama series Foyle’s War, which was the Winner of the Lew Grade Audience award for BAFTA. DCS Foyle- a quiet widower who is methodical, sagacious and scrupulously honest, investigating crime against the backdrop of World War II- was voted the nation’s favourite detective in 2011. Other television series he wrote and created include Collision, Injustice and New Blood- all of them for ITV.
In the 2014 New Year Honours, Horowitz was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to literature. He contributes to an array of national newspapers and magazines on subjects ranging from politics to education and currently has a travel column in The Telegraph. He is a patron to East Anglia Children’s Hospices and the anti-bullying charity Kidscape.
Horowitz’s new novel, The Sentence is Death, sequel to The Word is Murder, was released on the first of this month, and the author himself appears as the sidekick of the detective Daniel Hawthorne, investigating the death of a celebrity-divorce lawyer called Richard Pryce, found with a bottle of 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000 by his side.