Harry Horse

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Richard Horne, whose pen name was Harry Horse (9 May 1960, Coventryc.10 January 2007, Papil, West Burra), was an English author, illustrator and political cartoonist. He was also known as lead singer of the band Swamptrash. Born and raised in Coventry, Warwickshire, he moved to Edinburgh in 1978, where he adopted his pen name.[1]



His first book, Ogopogo, My Journey with the Loch Ness Monster, was published in 1983. He also wrote the The Last... series of books; this included The Last Polar Bears, which was adapted into a 30-minute cartoon for CITV and a touring theatre production for the National Theatre of Scotland, and The Last Castaways, which won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize.

Political cartoons[edit]

From 1987 to 1992 Horne was a political cartoonist for Scotland on Sunday and The Scotsman; he also drew until his death in 2007 for the Sunday Herald newspapers. His illustrations also appeared regularly in The Observer and The Independent newspapers.

Computer game[edit]

In 1993 he created, designed, and wrote a point-and-click adventure game for Time Warner called Drowned God: Conspiracy of the Ages. The game was based on a forged manuscript he had written a decade earlier, purporting to have been written by 19th-century poet Richard Henry Horne, who shares Horse's name.[2]


His illustrations appeared in books as diverse as The Good Golf Guide to Scotland, a centenary edition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, two books by Martin C. Strong both published by Canongate Books (The Great Rock Discography, 1st–4th eds. (1994–1998) and The Wee Rock Discography (1996))[3] and the children's book Magus the Lollipop Man.


In the late eighties he was the singer and frontman of the Edinburgh band Swamptrash, which later evolved, without Horse, into Shooglenifty, which still performs.[4]


On 10 January 2007, Horne's body was discovered holding his wife Mandy, who had been terminally ill with multiple sclerosis, in their bungalow in Papil, West Burra.[5] The Daily Mail reported on 13 July 2008 that rather than the "Romeo and Juliet" scene described in many articles relating to their deaths, Horse had stabbed her thirty times before killing their pets and stabbing himself until he too bled to death.[6] The Mail piece, which appeared in the print edition on Monday 14 July, was in fact a follow-up to a lengthy investigative feature in the Sunday Times Magazine of 13 July 2008 by Peter and Leni Gillman, in which they had revealed the truth about the couple's death. The Gillmans had multiple sources for their revelation, including information from both families and the death certificates, which described the cause of death as exsanguination.[7] Actor Tam Dean Burn, who had in the week before Horse's death put together an aborted radio tribute to him, said in 2009 after speaking with Horse's female relatives that the 2008 report was "a cruel distortion".[8]


  1. ^ McBeth, Jim (13 July 2008). "Children's author Harry Horse stabbed his wife 30 times as probe casts doubt on 'Romeo and Juliet suicide pact'". Daily Mail. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Horse, Harry. "Alien Tongue: An Interview with Drowned God creator Harry Horse" (Interview). Interview with GameSpot. CNET. Archived from the original on August 19, 2000. Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  3. ^ Music Reference Books by Martin C. Strong, FolkLib Index.
  4. ^ Belcher, David (February 2, 1998). "Horse Power to Take Us Places". The Herald. p. 18. Retrieved July 12, 2013.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  5. ^ Urquhart, Frank (11 January 2007). "Couple found dead with their pets after relatives' call to paramedics". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  6. ^ McBeth, Jim (13 July 2008). "Children's author Harry Horse stabbed his wife 30 times as probe casts doubt on 'Romeo and Juliet suicide pact'". Daily Mail. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Gillman, Peter and Leni Harry Horse: the man who loved his wife to death, Sunday Times Magazine 13 July 2008
  8. ^ "Tam Dean Burn wants to restore Harry Horse's reputation as an artist after the controversy over his death. But won't his show reopen old wounds?". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 

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