Diary: Anthony Horowitz

By Horowitz, Anthony | The Spectator, July 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

Diary: Anthony Horowitz


Horowitz, Anthony, The Spectator


I have written a play, but a month after it was sent to half a dozen theatres, I have heard nothing. Either they're being slow or they're so shocked that they cannot bring themselves to respond. The play is called Dinner With Saddam and takes place in Baghdad on the evening of the Allied bombardment. It's a comedy. Is it even possible, I wonder, for an English writer to portray an Arab family in a humorous way without laying himself open to charges of racism? And when all things are considered, was it good or bad timing to send the play out just one day before the Isis forces launched their first bloody attack?

But I cannot see any way to write about the horror of Iraq except through comedy. Tony Blair cropped up on Radio 4 this week in his role as Middle East peace envoy -- and that's a joke, isn't it? My jaw drops as I hear him arguing that the 2003 war had absolutely nothing to do with the vacuum of power and the collapse of internal security which has led directly to the disastrous situation in which Iraq now finds itself. I remember the US ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, arguing that the deaths of up to half a million children as a result of sanctions was 'a price worth paying'. She wasn't being serious, was she? And then there's the continued non-appearance of the Chilcott report. I once had a conversation with one of the members of that committee who promised me that they had finally nailed the truth. Chilcott has become a gag in both senses of the word.

There are three more episodes of Foyle's War on the way -- we finished them this week. In this season, we touch on the IG Farben trials and the construction of Monowitz, a concentration camp designed and built simply for business. One episode opens in Mandatory Palestine and looks at a bizarre plot, hatched within the British government, to restrict 'trespass' -- the illegal emigration of Jews. Finally, we examine one of the war's greatest scandals -- the quite unnecessary deaths of SOE agents sent into France and Holland. The more I write this show, the more passionate I become about it, and although we're thought of as a mystery or a detective series, it's actually the true, often unknown stories of the second world war (and now the Cold War) that fascinate me. Is there any other way I would be allowed to tell them on primetime ITV?

Meanwhile, I'm racing around promoting Moriarty , my new Sherlock Holmes novel which comes out in October. …

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