Anthony Horowitz, OBE (born 5 April 1955) is an English novelist and screenwriter specialising in mystery and suspense.
His works for young adult readers include The Diamond Brothers series, the Alex Rider series, and The Power of Five series (known in the U.S. as The Gatekeepers). His work for adults includes the play Mindgame (2001); two Sherlock Holmes novels, The House of Silk (2011) and Moriarty (2014); two novels featuring his own detective Atticus Pund, Magpie Murders (2016) and Moonflower Murders (2020); and three novels featuring himself paired with fictional detective Daniel Hawthorne, The Word Is Murder (2017), The Sentence is Death (2018) and A Line to Kill (2021). He was also chosen to write James Bond novels by the Ian Fleming estate, starting with Trigger Mortis (2015), and followed up with Forever and a Day (2018) and a third Bond novel to be released in 2022.
He has also written for television, contributing scripts to ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot and Midsomer Murders. He was the creator and writer of the ITV series Foyle's War, Collision and Injustice and the BBC series New Blood.
Background and personal life
Horowitz was born in Stanmore, Middlesex, into a Jewish family, and in his early years lived an upper middle class lifestyle. As an overweight and unhappy child, Horowitz enjoyed reading books from his father's library.
Horowitz started writing at the age of 8 or 9 and he instantly "knew" he would be a professional writer. This was because he was an underachiever in school and was not physically fit, and found his escape in books and telling stories. In a 2006 interview Horowitz stated "I was quite certain, from my earliest memory, that I would be a professional writer and nothing but."At age 13 he went to Rugby School, a public school in Rugby, Warwickshire. Horowitz's mother introduced him to Frankenstein and Dracula. She also gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday. Horowitz said in an interview that it reminds him to get to the end of each story since he will soon look like the skull. He graduated from the University of York with a lower second class degree in English literature and art history in 1977, where he was in Vanbrugh College.In at least one interview, Horowitz claims to believe that H. P. Lovecraft based his fictional Necronomicon on a real text, and to have read some of that text.Horowitz's father was associated with some of the politicians in the "circle" of prime minister Harold Wilson, including Eric Miller. Facing bankruptcy, he moved his assets into Swiss numbered bank accounts. He died from cancer when Horowitz was 22, and the family was never able to track down the missing money despite years of trying.Horowitz now lives in Central London with his wife Jill Green, whom he married in Hong Kong on 15 April 1988. Green produced Foyle's War, the series Horowitz wrote for ITV. They have two sons. He credits his family with much of his success in writing, as he says they help him with ideas and research. He is a patron of family support charity, Home-Start in Suffolk and child protection charity Kidscape.Politically, he considers himself to be "vaguely conservative". Ahead of the 2010 United Kingdom general election, Horowitz stated he would vote for the Conservative Party in response to the then policies of the governing Labour Party but "with little enthusiasm." In 2017, Horowitz expressed criticism of the notion of cultural appropriation after a publisher had allegedly tried to dissuade him from creating a black character as a central figure in one of his novels, and supported fellow author Lionel Shriver's critiques on the same issue. He also criticised the social phenomenon of cancel culture and "mobbing" of figures for expressing different opinions, stating "There is a rigidity in the way we have begun to think and speak. If we step outside certain lines on certain issues, we find not just people disagreeing, but disagreeing to the extent of death threats. When somebody says something untoward in the press, and I am not saying this about myself, people don’t just say that was a stupid thing to say. They say, Lose your job. They want you to never ever have an income again.”
1979–1991: Early work
Anthony Horowitz's first book, The Sinister Secret of Frederick K Bower, was a humorous adventure for children that was published in 1979 and later reissued as Enter Frederick K Bower in 1985. In 1981 his second novel, Misha, the Magician and the Mysterious Amulet was published and he moved to Paris to write his third book. In 1983 the first of the Pentagram series, The Devil's Door-Bell, was released. This story saw Martin Hopkins battling an ancient evil that threatened the whole world. Only three of four remaining stories in the series were ever written: The Night of the Scorpion (1984), The Silver Citadel (1986) and Day of the Dragon (1986). In 1985, he released Myths and Legends, a collection of retold tales from around the world.
In between writing these novels, Horowitz turned his attention to legendary characters, working with Richard Carpenter on the Robin of Sherwood television series, writing five episodes of the third season. He also novelised three of Carpenter's episodes as a children's book under the title Robin Sherwood: The Hooded Man (1986). In addition, he created Crossbow (1987), a half-hour action adventure series loosely based on William Tell. This era in Horowitz's career also saw Adventurer (1987), a thriller about a convict stuck on a prisoner ship with his sworn enemy, and Starting Out (1990), a collection of screenplays by the author himself, published.
In 1988, Groosham Grange was published. Its central character is a thirteen-year-old "witch", David Eliot, gifted as the seventh son of a seventh son. This book went on to win the 1989 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year Award. Some similarities were made between this book and J. K. Rowling’s newer Harry Potter series, but Horowitz did not choose to take action because of this.Despite this, the most major release of Horowitz's early career was The Falcon's Malteser (1986). This book was the first in the successful Diamond Brothers series, and was filmed for television in 1989 as Just Ask for Diamond, with an all-star cast that included Bill Paterson, Jimmy Nail, Roy Kinnear, Susannah York, Michael Robbins and Patricia Hodge, and featured Colin Dale and Dursley McLinden as Nick and Tim Diamond respectively. It was followed in 1987 with Public Enemy Number Two, and by South by South East in 1991.
Horowitz wrote many stand-alone novels in the 1990s. His 1994 novel Granny, a comedy thriller about an evil grandmother, was Horowitz's first book in three years, and it was the first of three books for an audience similar to that of Groosham Grange. The second of these was The Switch, a body swap story, first published in 1996. The third was 1997's The Devil and His Boy, which is set in the Elizabethan era and explores the rumour of Elizabeth I's secret son.
In 1999, The Unholy Grail was published as a sequel to Groosham Grange. It was later renamed Return to Groosham Grange in 2003, possibly to help young readers understand the connection between the two books. In 2021, Horowitz revealed to a fan on Twitter that he had plans to write a third book, but was dissuaded after the success of the Harry Potter series. In the same year, Horowitz publishing a collection of several short horror stories aimed for children and young adults, entitled Horowitz Horror (1999). This was an opportunity for Horowitz to further explore a darker side of his writing.
Sometime before the new millennium, Horowitz attempted to reach out to an adult audience with a novel called Poisoned Pen. The novel is based around Martin Holland, who is a childhood friend of a 21st century incarnation of William Shakespeare. In the novel, William Shakespeare is reimagined as a Hollywood screenwriter who is murdered in a set of circumstances that Martin Holland finds rather odd, despite attempts from a Los Angeles detective to dissuade him. The novel follows Martin’s attempts to solve the ever-growing mystery through a series of rather unusual circumstances and a number of people who seem rather glad that Shakespeare was murdered. The novel has never been published in the UK or even in English, but copies in Spanish and Dutch have been released (retitled as El asesinato de Shakespeare and William S. respectively). As of June 2021, there are no plans to get the novel republished.
Horowitz began his most famous and successful series in the new millennium with the Alex Rider novels. These books are about a 14-year-old boy becoming a spy, a member of the British Secret Service branch MI6. As of 2021, there are eleven books where Alex Rider is the protagonist, and another connected to the Alex Rider series: Stormbreaker (2000), Point Blanc (2001), Skeleton Key (2002), Eagle Strike (2003), Scorpia (2004) Ark Angel (2005), Snakehead (2007), Crocodile Tears (2009), Scorpia Rising (2011), plus Russian Roulette (2013). Horowitz had stated that Scorpia Rising was to be the last book in the Alex Rider series prior to writing Russian Roulette about the life of Yassen Gregorovich, but he has returned to the series with Never Say Die (2017) and Nightshade (2020) and is in the midst of writing a new Alex Rider novel that is due to be published sometime in 2022.
In 2003, Horowitz also wrote three novellas featuring the Diamond Brothers: The Blurred Man, The French Confection and I Know What You Did Last Wednesday, which were republished together as Three of Diamonds in 2004. The author information page in early editions of Scorpia and the introduction to Three of Diamonds claimed that Horowitz had travelled to Australia to research a new Diamond Brothers book, entitled Radius of the Lost Shark. This claim was further backed up when a new Diamond Brothers novella entitled The Greek who Stole Christmas! was released in 2007, where it is hinted at the end that Radius of the Lost Shark may turn out to be the eighth book in the series. However, the next novel in the series is instead called Where Seagulls Dare, and is unrelated to the Australian-based adventure that was previously announced. Horowitz published the first six chapters unedited on his website throughout 2020, and intends for the full, edited novel to be published in 2022, with all profits going to support the NHS.Horowitz also published two sequels to his short horror story collection; More Horowitz Horror (2000) and More Bloody Horowitz (2009). Many of the stories in Horowitz Horror and More Horowitz Horror were later repackaged in twos or threes as the Pocket Horowitz series, while More Bloody Horowitz was later reissued as Scared to Death. One of the short stories in More Bloody Horowitz is notable for serving as Horowitz’s opportunity to get even with fellow author Darren O'Shaughnessy, more commonly known as Darren Shan. In 2008, the pair had gotten into a joke dispute over O'Shaughnessy’s use of Horowitz’s name for an objectionable character (Antoine Horwitzer) in Wolf Island. In retaliation, Horowitz chose to plot a gruesome literary revenge in the short story The Man Who Killed Darren Shan.In 2004, Horowitz again branched out to an adult audience with The Killing Joke, a comedy about a man who tries to track a joke to its source with disastrous consequences. The book was not very successful, and in August 2005, Horowitz returned to young adult fiction by releasing a book called Raven's Gate which began a second successful series entitled The Power of Five (The Gatekeepers in the United States). Based heavily on one of his earlier novels entitled The Devil's Door-Bell, each of the first four entries of The Power of Five subsequently ended up being a rewritten and expanded version of their respective counterpart from the Pentagram series. The second book in the series, Evil Star (based on The Night of the Scorpion), was released in April 2006. The third in the series is called Nightrise (based on The Silver Citadel), and was released on 2 April 2007. The fourth book Necropolis (based on Day of the Dragon) was released in October 2008. The fifth and final book, the only one not based on an earlier Pentagram novel, was released in October 2012 and is named Oblivion. Horowitz describes this series as "Alex Rider with devils and witches".In October 2008, Anthony Horowitz's play Mindgame opened Off Broadway at the SoHo Playhouse in New York City. Mindgame starred Keith Carradine, Lee Godart, and Kathleen McNenny. The production was the New York stage directorial debut for Ken Russell.
In March 2009 he was a guest on Private Passions, the biographical music discussion programme on BBC Radio 3.On 19 January 2011, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle announced that Horowitz was to be the writer of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, the first such effort to receive an official endorsement from them and to be entitled The House of Silk. It was both published in November 2011 and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. A follow-up novel, Moriarty, was published in 2014.
In October 2014, the Ian Fleming estate commissioned Horowitz to write a James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, which was released in 2015. It was followed by a second novel, Forever and A Day, which came out on 31 May 2018. A third Bond novel was announced in May 2021 and is expected to be released sometime in 2022.
In 2015, Horowitz's adult novel Magpie Murders was published. Having previously spoken about the book in 2005, the book was initially described as being about "a whodunit writer who is murdered while he's writing his latest whodunit". Horowitz finally expected to finish it in late 2015, and it was finally published in October 2016. A follow-up novel, Moonflower Murders, was released in 2020. A third and final novel in the series is expected to be released as well.
Horowitz was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to literature.
Writing for television and film
Horowitz began writing for television in the 1980s, contributing to the children's anthology series Dramarama, and also writing for the popular fantasy series Robin of Sherwood. His association with murder mysteries began with the adaptation of several Hercule Poirot stories for ITV's popular Agatha Christie's Poirot series during the 1990s.
Often his work has a comic edge, such as with the comic murder anthology Murder Most Horrid (BBC Two, 1991) and the comedy-drama The Last Englishman (1995), starring Jim Broadbent. From 1997, he wrote the majority of the episodes in the early series of Midsomer Murders. In 2001, he created a drama anthology series of his own for the BBC, Murder in Mind, an occasional series which deals with a different set of characters and a different murder every one-hour episode.
He is also less-favourably known for the creation of two short-lived and sometimes derided science-fiction shows, Crime Traveller (1997) for BBC One and The Vanishing Man (pilot 1996, series 1998) for ITV. While Crime Traveller received favourable viewing figures it was not renewed for a second season, which Horowitz accounts to temporary personnel transitioning within the BBC. In 2002, the detective series Foyle's War launched, set during the Second World War.
He devised the 2009 ITV crime drama Collision and co-wrote the screenplay with Michael A. Walker.
Horowitz is the writer of a feature film screenplay, The Gathering, which was released in 2003 and starred Christina Ricci. He wrote the screenplay for Alex Rider's first major motion picture, Stormbreaker.
Horowitz is adapting his novel The Magpie Murders into a television miniseries, to air on BritBox in the UK and on the PBS series Masterpiece Mystery! in the US.
Young adult novels
Alex Rider series
Point Blanc (US title: Point Blank) (2001)
Skeleton Key (2002)
Eagle Strike (2003)
Ark Angel (2005)
Crocodile Tears (2009)
Scorpia Rising (2011)
Russian Roulette (2013)
Never Say Die (2017)
Nightshade (2020)Short story collections
Alex Rider: Secret Weapon (2019)
Alex Rider: Undercover (2020)Related works
Alex Rider: The Gadgets (2005)
Alex Rider: Mission Files (2008)The Power of Five (The Gatekeepers) series
Raven's Gate (2005)
Evil Star (2006)
Oblivion (2012)Children's novels
The Diamond Brothers series
The Falcon's Malteser (1986)
Public Enemy Number Two (1987)
South By South East (1991)
The Blurred Man (2003)
The French Confection (2003)
I Know What You Did Last Wednesday (2003)
The Greek Who Stole Christmas (2007)
Where Seagulls Dare (2021)Short stories
The Double Eagle Has Landed (2011; published in Guys Read: Thriller)Horowitz Horror series
Horowitz Horror (1999)
More Horowitz Horror (2001)
More Bloody Horowitz (2009; retitled as Bloody Horowitz in the United States and later re-released as Scared to Death) Legends series
Beasts and Monsters (2010)
Battles and Quests (2010)
Death and the Underworld (2011)
Heroes and Villains (2011)
The Wrath of the Gods (2012)
Tricks and Transformations (2012)Groosham Grange series
Groosham Grange (1988)
The Unholy Grail (later released as Return to Groosham Grange) (1999)Pentagram series
The Devil's Door-Bell (1983)
The Night of the Scorpion (1983)
The Silver Citadel (1986)
Day of the Dragon (1989)Standalone children's novels
The Sinister Secret of Frederick K. Bower (republished in 1985 as Enter Frederick K. Bower) (1979)
Misha, the Magician and the Mysterious Amulet (1981)
The Switch (1996)
The Devil and His Boy (1998)Other children's novels
Robin of Sherwood: The Hooded Man (1986) (with Richard Carpenter)
New Adventures of William Tell (1987)
Starting Out (1990)Children's collections
Myths and Legends (1985)
The Kingfisher Book of Myths and Legends (2003)
Three of Diamonds (2004)
Groosham Grange - Two Books in One! (2011)Graphic novels
The Power of Five graphic novels
The Power of Five 1: Raven's Gate (2010)
The Power of Five 2: Evil Star (2014)
The Power of Five 3: Nightrise (2014)Alex Rider graphic novels
Alex Rider: Stormbreaker
Alex Rider: Point Blanc
Alex Rider: Skeleton Key
Alex Rider: Eagle Strike
Alex Rider: ScorpiaEdge: Horowitz Graphic Horror
The Phone Goes Dead (2010)
Killer Camera (2010)
The Hitchhiker (2010)Adult novels
A Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery
The Word is Murder (2017)
The Sentence is Death (2019)
A Line to Kill (2021)Susan Ryeland series
Magpie Murders (2016)
Moonflower Murders (2020)James Bond novels
Trigger Mortis (2015)
Forever and a Day (2018)
Untitled Bond novel (2022)Sherlock Holmes novels
The House of Silk (2011)
Moriarty (2014)Standalone adult novels
Poisoned Pen (2002; never published in the UK but released as El asesinato de Shakespeare in Spanish and William S. in Dutch)
The Killing Joke (2004)Novellas
Vermeer to Eternity (2015)Films
Just Ask for Diamond (1988)
The Gathering (2003)
Stormbreaker (2006)Television series
Robin of Sherwood (1986) – 5 episodes
Boon (1987) – Episode Wheels of Fortune
Crossbow (1987) – Episode The Little Soldier
Dramarama (1989) – Episode Back to Front
Grim Tales (1989–1991)
The Diamond Brothers (1991) – Creator and director/6 episodes
Agatha Christie's Poirot (1991–2001) – 11 episodes
Midsomer Murders (1997–2000) – 6 episodes
Crime Traveller (1997) – Creator/8 episodes
Murder in Mind (2001–2003) – Creator/7 episodes
Foyle's War (2002–15) – Creator/25 episodes
Collision (2009) – Creator/5 episodes
Injustice (2011) – Creator/5 episodes
New Blood (2016) – Creator/7 episodes
Alex Rider (2020) – Executive Producer/8 episodesPlays
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (never performed but audio demos were recorded in 2001)
Mindgame (performed 1999, published 2000)
A Handbag (performed in 2009 as part of National Theatre Connections festival)
Dinner With Saddam (performed 2015)References
Anthony Horowitz at IMDb
Anthony Horowitz at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
Profile at publisher Walker Books
Audio interview regarding Snakehead novel
Anthony Horowitz at Library of Congress Authorities, with 55 catalogue records
Interview with Antony Horowitz on Eurochannel