Murder in Samarkand


This is the book that the British Government really didn’t like being published. Indeed I’ve even heard stories of people being stopped from taking it on the plane with them!
Nobody stopped me at Stansted with it when I went away with it recently.
Murray was the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan where he was something of a non-conformist. As well as being somewhat younger than the traditional elder statesmen we imagine our ambassadors to be, he was a lively confrontational way about him. In his time in service he said what he thought to peoples’ faces, gaining a great deal of kudos.
He also called it the way he saw it with the UK and US Governments supporting a repressive regime that was hurting its own people, all in the name of supporting the “war on terror.”
This gung-ho attitude did not make him the most popular person in civil service, and he was regularly told off and investigated.
Murray doesn’t paint himself as perfect, and it’s clear that he admires an attractive woman when he sees one (and isn’t afraid to share this with his readers). And the break-up of his marriage probably doesn’t help his cause.
But whatever his personal failings – and he doesn’t hide them – you can do nothing but admire his perseverance and only wish that we had more members of our ambassadorial service like him. The book does Blair and his cronies no favours whatsoever.