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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

The Club/ Jonathan Clegg & Joshua Robinson

The subtitle of this book is “How the Premier League became the richest, most disruptive business in sport” which reflects a work that is more assertive than analytical. You can tell it’s written by journalists – in this case the Washington Post’s as a historian tends more to rely on [...]

July 29, 2019 // 0 Comments

Remembering lunar exploration

The programmes commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the landing on the moon prompted me to research my memory banks. My interest began before 1969 with Herge’s Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon published some 10 years before. It’s different from other Tintin adventures in that [...]

July 17, 2019 // 0 Comments

Chanel’s Riviera / Anne de Courcy

This is not a biography of arguably the greatest businesswoman of all time but an account of the Riviera she inhabited in her only permanent home La Pausa at Roquebrune, Cap Martin overlooking Monte Carlo. As someone who has travelled to the Riviera frequently and read much of its literature I [...]

July 12, 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

Appeasing Hitler

Tim Bouverie has written a measured, well researched account of the Appeasement years. He cites several reasons for the appeasement policy of Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain: 1) the country was ill-prepared for war; 2) there was a mood of pacifism in the country which may well have resulted [...]

June 19, 2019 // 0 Comments

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