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Articles by Melanie Gay

About Melanie Gay

A former literary agent with three published novels of her own, Melanie retains her life-long love of the written word and recently mastered the Kindle. She is currently writing a historical novel set in 17th Century Britain and Holland. More Posts

Daphne Du Maurier

Recently I was speaking at a plenary session of a literary festival on Great Authors of the Twentieth Century. My co-speaker, a literary academic from Corpus Christi College Cambridge, advocated James Joyce’s Ulysses as the game changer of the century and rather pooh-poohed my choice of Daphne du [...]

October 22, 2019 // 0 Comments

Headlong/Michael Frayn

Michael Frayn’s novel Headlong operates on 2 levels. The first is a fiction in which Martin, a philosopher married to Kate an art historian, chances upon a painting of his neighbour in the country which he strongly believes to be a missing Brueghel. It is worth millions and he starts a [...]

October 13, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Rescue Man/ Anthony Quinn

Some writers once they create a popular character drive him/her through a series of novels: the late Philip Kerr was a case in point with Bernie Gunther. Others like William Boyd or David Mitchell will surprise the reader with totally different novel every time. Anthony Quinn is of this school. He [...]

September 13, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Man that Got Away/Lynne Truss

Lynne Truss is an established comic writer. This is her second Constable Twitten detective novel which is also highly humourous. At the heart of this fiction set in Brighton in the 1950s lies not Constable Peregrine Twitten (named after a path way in Rottingdean) but Mrs Palmeira (a well-known [...]

August 20, 2019 // 0 Comments

10 Minutes 38 seconds in this strange world/ Elif Shafak

This novel by a well known Turkish writer begins with the end, the end of Tequila Leila who is a murdered sex worker and lies dying in a rubbish bin in Istanbul. The opening chapter – hence the title – are devoted to her final thoughts, reminiscences, recalls in the last 10 minutes 38 [...]

July 5, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Professor and the Parson/Adam Sisman

The biographer Adam Sisman is clearly intrigued by con men. His biography of Professor Hugh Trevor Roper necessarily had to discuss how, when and why he was duped into authenticating the Hitler diaries. The next one on John le Carre had to feature his conman father. Hugh Trevor Roper was intrigued [...]

June 3, 2019 // 0 Comments

Middle England/ Jonathan Coe

Middle England by Jonathan Coe might end up as the definitive Brexit novel as it’s set from 2012 to the present day. The author does not disguise his remain sympathies but he brings out well the various motives and rationale for voting either way and the destruction it wrought. I first came [...]

May 12, 2019 // 0 Comments

Love is Blind / William Boyd

William Boyd is one of of Britain’s most popular and successful novelists. He is also one of our most versatile. You never know quite what to expect when you read a Boyd novel. The hero or heroine might be male or female, it can take place in any location in any epoch. It can be comic it can be [...]

April 30, 2019 // 0 Comments

Metropolis/Philip Kerr

Metropolis is the final novel of Philip Kerr, published posthumously as he died of cancer on 23rd March 2018 aged 62. It’s also the final one in the Bernie Gunther series. The best are probably the first three published – The March Violets set in the rise of Nazism, the title is the name [...]

April 23, 2019 // 0 Comments

A literary discovery from the 1920s

It was both a little surprising but also perhaps a sign of the times to learn by chance recently that the BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow programme – now occupying the 8.00pm transmission slot on Sunday evenings – is celebrating its fortieth anniversary in this year. I open with that [...]

April 16, 2019 // 0 Comments

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