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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

Underneath the Streets

Underneath the Streets is a political thriller by Adam Macqueen who was for many years a contributor to Private Eye.    The central character is a male prostitute called Tommy Wildeblood who perchance investigates the death of a rent boy in Hampstead Heath. The trail leads him to Devon and to [...]

July 20, 2020 // 0 Comments

American Pastoral/Philip Roth

Readers may recall that I kept this book by my loo as an aid to constipation. Occasionally when a passage of writing engrossed me it moved location but before long was back in its place of residence. It’s problem is that it is long, over-detailed, wordy and there is no narrational time arc. [...]

July 7, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Professional/W.C Heinz

I can think of many excellent boxing films – Someone up There loves Me, Rocky and Raging Bull – and some great writers and writings on the Noble Art of Boxing, but it’s fiction is harder to find. This is why I enjoyed The Professional.  It’s the story of Eddie Brown [...]

June 19, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Mystery of Henri Pick/ David Foenkinos

The Mystery of Henri Pick is all the reading rage in France. David Foenkinos It is the story of a manuscript discovered in a library in Cruzon, Brittany, which has a section devoted to unpublished works by wannabe writers. A young editress of the publishing house Grassset called Delphine sees her [...]

June 15, 2020 // 0 Comments

Bill Naughton

I  was asked to submit films to a list based on the theme of “As good as or better than the book on which it was based”. One of my submissions Alfie was correctly rejected as it began life not as a novel but a BBC radio play. I should have known this as the writer Bill Naughton was a [...]

May 20, 2020 // 0 Comments

Hitler’s Peace/Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr died a few years ago. So I was both surprised and grateful for this posthumous publication. The story is that the Nazis realised that by 1943 they could not win WW2 and devised a plot to assassinate the Big Three (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin) at the Tehran Conference. At the same [...]

May 18, 2020 // 0 Comments

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