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Alderney schoolboys’ letter led to Horowitz’s murderous new book

Alderney schoolboys’ letter led to Horowitz’s murderous new book

Sunday 22 August 2021

Alderney schoolboys’ letter led to Horowitz’s murderous new book


Acclaimed author Anthony Horowitz has shared how a “charming letter” from two Alderney schoolboys led him on a journey to the island that ended up inspiring his murderous new novel.

Mr Horowitz’s prolific career has spanned multiple James Bond novels, the Alex Rider series, and two Sherlock Holmes books.

Released this week, A Line to Kill is the third in a series of crime mysteries featuring ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne, and his companion Mr Horowitz, who appears as a character in the book.

Both are invited to an exclusive literary festival on the island, alongside a group of characters and suspects, including a blind psychic and a TV chef. Critically, it revolves around a controversial power line, called the NAB, which may remind local readers of the disputed FAB Link.

Express spoke to Mr Horowitz about the story behind the story…

Mr Horowitz said the potential for a book set in the island came about after an invitation from two young fans.

“I was invited to a literary festival in Alderney about three or four years ago, two schoolboys, Ethan and Tobin – they wrote me a charming letter about Alderney and how much I’d like it, and so I decided I would go.

“I loved the island and immediately thought it would make a great setting for a story,” he said.

Unfortunately, covid hit during the writing of the novel and Mr Horowitz was unable to come back to the island, where he would’ve preferred to stay until it was finished.

“I would’ve rent a house somewhere for a month and write most of the book in situ – because of covid the island was shut down for the entire time of writing,” he said.

The island and its landmarks play a key role to the twisting and turning of the plot, with Mr Horowitz describing it as one of the third main characters.

“The blue telephone boxes, the beaches themselves, there is so much compressed in so little space, everywhere you look there is something wonderful to catch the eye,” he said.

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Pictured: Mr Horowitz said he hopes to return to Alderney one day.

The book has received critical acclaim, with reviews calling it “tremendously fun”, “enthralling”, and containing twists that “harken back to the days of the golden age of mystery.”

But Mr Horowitz says he’ll be most interested to learn the opinions of locals.

“I hope that they [the people of Alderney] enjoy it first of all, and see that I absolutely love the island. 

“Alderney is the hero of the story and I hope that my love of it comes through,” he concluded.

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