Just in


The Lost Diary of Samuel Pepys/Jack Jewers

Historical fiction has become a popular genre with writers like C.J. Samson and his Shardlake novels set in the reign of Henry VIII leading the way. In some respects these are easy novels to write – as you do not have to invent a whole cast of characters – but (in other respects) [...]

September 25, 2023 // 0 Comments

An expedition to two National Trust properties

Earlier this year the Boss and I joined the National Trust on a “family ticket”. For many years she had been a member of the organisation and occasional visitor to a variety of its properties. In my case, whilst I had been to a few of them over the past six decades, this was more by informal [...]

September 24, 2023 // 0 Comments

Answered prayers/Duncan Hamilton

Duncan Hamilton is rightly acclaimed as one of our best – if not the best – sports biographer. It’s not a literary field crammed with talent. Most ghosted sports biographies are dull with some revelation for the serialisation in a newspaper. Duncan Hamilton writes on major but [...]

September 19, 2023 // 0 Comments

April in Spain/John Banville

John Banville is an established Irish writer of both criminal and general fiction. This novel is a blend of the two. The story is of the Eire State Pathologist John Quirke going on holiday with his Austrian psychoanalyst wife Evelyn to San Sebastián. There, by chance, he recognised April, a friend [...]

September 12, 2023 // 0 Comments

A Nazi Conspiracy/Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch

This is an account of an alleged Nazi conspiracy to assassinate the Big Three (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin) at the Tehran Conference in 1943. I say “alleged” as there may have been no conspiracy but a ruse by the Soviets to scare President Roosevelt into staying not at the US [...]

September 6, 2023 // 0 Comments

A Very English Deceit/Malcolm Balen

This is an account of one of the biggest financial scandals in England’s history – The South Sea Bubble – and well told, briskly but informatively by Malcolm Balen. In brief when George I acceded to the the throne as the first Hanoverian at the start of the eighteenth century the [...]

August 4, 2023 // 0 Comments

Thunderclap & The Man who made Vermeers

Thunderclap by Observer Art Critic Laura Cumming is the story of the life and death of Dutch 17th century artist Carel Fabritius. In fact much more is known about his death in 1654 when his house collapsed after a gunpowder  depot explosion in Delft. As for his life, he was born in the village of [...]

July 25, 2023 // 0 Comments

University Challenge’s New Quizmaster

In its 70 year history University Challenge has only had 3 quizmasters: Bamber Gascoigne, Jeremy Paxman and now the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan. He made his debut last night in a contest between Trinity College and the University of Manchester which ended in a tie with 175 points respectively. [...]

July 18, 2023 // 0 Comments

Tender is the Night/F. Scott Fitzgerald

I tend to read in themes and this year these have been contemporary Irish authors like Colm Toibin, Sebastian Barry, Joseph O’Connor and John Banville and classic American writers of the early twentieth century like Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway and now Scott Fitzgerald. My other reason for [...]

July 12, 2023 // 0 Comments

The Age of Innocence/Edith Wharton

Having enjoyed The Reef I moved onto Edith Wharton’s best-known work The Age of Innocence. Published in 1920 when she was 58 it won her the Pulitzer prize , the first woman to achieve this. The central character is Archer Newland, a young and rich lawyer, and the novel is set in the Gilded Age of [...]

May 25, 2023 // 0 Comments

1 2 3 31