The political thriller has been perhaps the most successful fictional genre of the past decade, as Frederick Forsyth’s bank manager would doubtless testify. Yet very few politicians have tried their hands at it. A few years ago Brian Sedgemore, who was then still a Labour MP, wrote an indescribably bad book called Mr Secretary of State. But that hardly counted as a thriller; it read more like a copy of the Labour manifesto with a few love scenes hamfistedly chucked into it.
The one politician who has produced readable and successful thrillers is Douglas Hurd. He is now a minister in Mrs Thatcher’s government and he was, by the by, the only Foreign Office minister not to resign when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands.