Novelist Deborah Moggach tackles all aspects of life in her bestselling books, but there is one shocking story she has never written about – how her mother helped take the life of an elderly woman.
The case of Charlotte Hough, also a writer, became a cause celebre in the mid-1980s. She was jailed for assisting a lonely 83-year-old spinster to take her own life at the woman’s care home, supplying nembutal pills and ultimately holding a plastic bag over her head.
In today’s Event magazine Moggach, who wrote These Foolish Things, which was turned into the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, says she could never write about her mother’s harrowing story – but she has given her blessing to a new play about it, called The Promise.
She expects the drama to reopen the debate on assisted suicide, adding: ‘Mum would have liked the thought it might get us all talking.’
Moggach, 69, reveals that her mother told her about her actions immediately afterwards. ‘I did applaud her bravery, but I was aware she could get into trouble for it,’ she says.
It may have been more than three decades ago, but Deborah Moggach remembers seeing the headline that her mum had been charged with murder like it was yesterday