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‘Cosy crime’ is accomplished business for prolific Anthony Horowitz

It’s 10am in Crete, where Anthony Horowitz is enjoying his version of holidays. The extraordinarily prolific English author has already been up long enough to draft the first chapter of his fifth book featuring private eye Daniel Hawthorne. A novelist, screenwriter and producer, Horowitz writes adult and young-adult books as well as TV series and movies, typically juggling a variety of projects and routinely working every day.

I’m not good at turning off,” he explains. “Here, I get a tan and swim and see friends, but I’m also working six or seven hours a day, which is less than I work in England.” While a recent bout of COVID slowed him down for a couple of weeks, his customary energy has returned and is now palpable from the other side of the world.His latest TV production is the playful six-part mystery, Magpie Murders (Britbox), which he adapted from his novel, although he doesn’t always take on the TV version of his own books.

When his popular teen spy hero, Alex Rider, moved to the screen, Horowitz and his wife, producer Jill Green, commissioned Guy Burt (The Bletchley Circle) to choreograph the transition, with Horowitz noting appreciatively that “Guy’s brought originality and a new vision to Alex Rider”.Magpie Murders is the first book to feature literary editor Susan Ryeland and Horowitz and Green agreed that he needed to do the adaptation himself. “It’s a long and complicated book, and it’s like a nesting series of Russian dolls,” he says. “We didn’t think that there was anybody else who would be able to do the job. But it was an enormous amount of work to shape it and to make it intelligible to an audience, to have them mystified and puzzled, but not lost or confused. It took me almost two years to write the scripts.”

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