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The BBC – it was not ever thus

I am reading an excellent book – Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson. It is an account of how many Europeans notably heads of government, or self-styled ones like Charles de Gaulle, came to the UK in 1940 as it was the only substantial western European democracy not under the Nazi jack boot. The [...]

January 24, 2020 // 0 Comments

Clive James RIP

Yesterday my brother gave me a lift from the south coast back to my home. On the way I commented that we should remember the date Wednesday 27th November 2019 because one day in some far off Pub Trivia Quiz it was possible that the question might come up as to which three culturally-significant [...]

November 28, 2019 // 0 Comments

Rise and Kill First/ Ronen Bergman

Thi is an account of the targeted assassinations conducted by the Caesarea unit of the Mossad. The writer does not take a sympathetic stance and states their futility. Although the killings were sanctioned by the Prime Minister, the Mossad soon became a state within a state and though subject to [...]

November 22, 2019 // 0 Comments

I think I’m turning Japanese … [Not?]*

(Note: * above is a reference to the worldwide single hit Turning Japanese by The Vapors, taken off their 1980 album New Clear Days). Despite our Rust delegation out in Japan continuing to set new standards of reporting excellence, overnight I spotted a piece in the British media suggesting that [...]

October 30, 2019 // 0 Comments

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

Six Minutes in May/ Nicholas Shakespeare

This is an account of how Winston Churchill became Prime Minister in May 1940. It begins with a detailed account of the Norway Campaign. The assault on Narvik which produced iron ore for Germany was Churchill’s brainchild as First Sea Lord. It was a disastrous campaign comparable to Gallipoli and [...]

August 9, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Impartiality of Love/Hannah Rothschild

This is a novel of many parts, most of which do not work. Above all it reveals the amoral ruthlessness of the art world after a woman called Annie, a cook who is unlucky in love, discovers a lost Antoine Watteau called Improbability of Love in a junk shop. This develops into a chick lit romance, an [...]

August 6, 2019 // 0 Comments

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