When it comes to great whodunnits with plot twists for days, no man is better equipped to stun and delight readers than author Anthony Horowitz.

Having written across the spectrum of novels, TV, and films, and credited on hits such as Magpie Murders, Alex Rider, Foyle’s War, as well as episodes of Poirot and Midsomer Murders, if anybody can create an intriguing and elusive character, it is Horowitz.

That is why Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne is so fascinating. The Sherlock to Horowitz’s Watson since The Word is Murder was first published in 2018, the duo have the feature characters in five books to date.

But the one question that keeps puzzling readers is this: is Daniel Hawthorne real?

I hate to be the one to tell you that, no, he is not real. He is completely fictitious and simply a product of Horowitz’s mind.

So why are we all convinced that maybe he’s just a little bit real? Well, the first and probably the main reason is that we know Anthony Horowitz is real, as are many of the other character details in his books, such as his wife, his job, his back catalog of work, etc…

So if they are all relatively true to life then the assumption goes that so too is Daniel Hawthorne. Except that he is not.

It really is a testament to Horowitz that he has created a character so life-like that it is one of the most frequently asked questions about his Hawthorne series of books.

The characteristics, the mannerisms, the personality, and the secrecy surrounding him are all so visceral that it’s hard to believe he’s not actually a person.

Why Do We Think Daniel Hawthorne Is Real?

There’s a really good reason why we all think Daniel Hawthorne is real, and that is the way he is introduced to us.

Everything that Horowitz talks about, surrounding his first meetings with the investigator are all true.

– met him working on a TV show called Injustice starring James Purefoy – an actual show that was released in 2011

– the detective on the show is deliberately as unpleasant as possible and based on ‘Hawthorne’

Eleventh Hour Films is the production company for Injustice – a real company that has also made Alex Rider, Magpie Murders, and the new BBC Rebus reboot

– the detective on the show is played by Charlie Creed-Miles and is physically remarkably similar to Hawthorne

– the characters even have similar names: Mark Wenborn and Daniel Hawthorne

Horowitz even tells us that Detective Mark Wenborn is based on Hawthorne. So with all of that information over just a few pages of the book, it’s easy to see why most of us, on first reading, would naturally assume that Daniel Hawthorne is real.

And if, like me, you were curious enough to look him up on the web and got nowhere, then you can understand why I had to delve deeper and get some answers.

Is He At Least Based On An Actual Person?

Okay, so maybe Hawthorne himself isn’t real, but that doesn’t mean that he can be based on a person or a combination of a few people – right??

Again, it doesn’t appear so, not judging by what Horowitz has said about him in various interviews over the last few years.

According to Horowitz, Daniel Hawthorne is not the most pleasant of people. He’s a difficult and damaged man who is now in need of money.

Other than the fact that he can be hired by Scotland Yard as a consultant, because despite getting sacked, he was actually a brilliant detective, he needs another revenue stream.

That’s when he approaches real-life Anthony Horowitz with a deal that Anthony will follow him around on a case and then write a book about it when it is solved, splitting the profits from the book sales 50/50.

So, who is he based on? The most likely answer is that Hawthorne is a variation of Detective Wenborn from Injustice.

Anthony Horowitz has even said that physically, he thought about actor Charlie Creed-Miles when describing Hawthorne in the book, and that if he had to choose any actor to play him in a TV adaption, it would be him.

Ultimately, Hawthorne physically resembles Creed-Miles, but, personality-wise, is based on another fictional detective.

Will We Ever Discover Hawthorne’s Back Story?

Currently, we are five books in with details about Hawthorne’s backstory being eeked out a little bit at a time.

The good news is that Anthony Horowitz has stated that there are 12 books planned in the series, by the end of which, everything about Daniel Hawthorne will be become clear.

The bad news is that with one book every 15-16 months or so (longer between books 2 & 3) we probably have to wait until late 2025/early 2026 for the next installment!

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