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Mr Wilder & Me/Jonathan Coe

You do not have to read a biography by a film critic to appreciate a legendary director as this novel which I finished yesterday by audio book confirms. Jonathan Coe The narrator is a Greek girl called Calista who when she first meets Billy Wilder in the late 1970s has never heard of him. Later she [...]

November 20, 2020 // 0 Comments

Trio/William Boyd

A new William Boyd book is always a significant publishing event as he is one of Britain’s most popular novelists and you do not know what to expect. In a writing career that early on embraced drole colonialism in West Africa but has included espionage and a broad sweep of a life by journal in [...]

November 19, 2020 // 0 Comments

Morozov/Natalya Semenova

Generally there are two types of reviewers: those that use a book review to illustrate their own knowledge of the subject and those that seek to show why said book might be of interest or enrichment to the reader. Most of the reviews of this biography of the Morozovs I read fall into the first [...]

October 28, 2020 // 0 Comments

Book review (a curate’s egg)

I bought Robert Colls’ new book This Sporting Life: Sport & Liberty in England, 1760-1960 about three months ago after both reading a review of it in one of the Sunday newspapers and having it recommended to me by a pal because of my general interest in boxing and its forebear – [...]

October 21, 2020 // 0 Comments

Daphne du Maurier

In the week there was a revealing documentary on Daphne du Maurier on PBS America entitled In Rebecca’s Footsteps. She was a complex character difficult to classify as a writer. The popular notion is of a historical romantic novelist in the style of Georgette Heyer or Philippa Gregory. In fact [...]

October 18, 2020 // 0 Comments

Legacy of Agatha Christie

Last Saturday there was a tribute on Channel 5 to Agatha Christie to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of her first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles.   The programme was narrated by Nigel Havers and various actors who had appeared in televised adaptations – and the [...]

October 14, 2020 // 0 Comments

Execution/SJ Parris

Publishing is very much a copy-cat business. Thus – when one writer comes up with a successful genre – rest assured it will not be long before another follows. CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake novels set in the reign of Henry VIII are immensely popular. SJ Parris’ novels are in the [...]

October 3, 2020 // 0 Comments

Murder by Milk Bottle /Lynne Truss

This is Lynne Truss’ fourth novel in the Constable Twitten series and not the best. It is set in the her familiar milieu of 1950s Brighton where a series of murders are committed with a milk bottle. The novel has humour and a good sense of time and location but there are a number of weaknesses : [...]

August 26, 2020 // 0 Comments

Book review: Utopia Avenue (Part 2)

This is the second part (of two) of my review of Utopia Avenue, the latest novel by David Mitchell just released in the UK. To build upon the themes I touched upon in Part One, I must register that normally I avoid fiction like the plague and hitherto had neither been aware of Mitchell’s [...]

July 29, 2020 // 0 Comments

Book Review: Utopia Avenue (Part 1)

This is a book review with a  difference – a statement I should not be permitted to make here without supplying some sort of justification and I begin by seeking to supply a two-pronged one. Firstly, it arises as a result of one of the ‘signs of our times’ – an online Zoom one-to-one [...]

July 28, 2020 // 0 Comments

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