Monday, January 31, 2011

{review} to war with whitaker

Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly defied opinion and a host of regulations to travel to the Middle East during the Second World War to rejoin her husband who was stationed there with his regiment. The 'Whitaker' of the title is her husband's valet, a sort of 'Bunter' figure in the Lord Peter Wimsey tradition, who also accompanied the Ranfurlys to the Middle East in the army. 

 To War with Whitaker: Wartime Diaries of the Countess of Ranfurly, 1939-45

Anyone without a title or as much sheer front as Lady Ranfurly would have soon found herself despatched home, but she dug in her heels, called in all favours, made herself indispensable to a general or two, and managed to stay in the war arena until the bitter end. The military establishment did, indeed, try to remove her on a number of occasions, once even managing to get her on a boat bound for home. However, she disembarked in South Africa and made her way back by hitching rides by any means she could, including implying that she was on a secret mission! It was a lucky escape - the boat, on which her best friend was also sailing, was sunk soon after she had disembarked.

The diaries reflect her optimism, despite the tragedies around her, that things would work out in the end and that she would be reunited with her beloved husband. Their love shines from the pages. Many of her closest friends were to die, and soon after their reunion her husband was captured at Tobruk and sent to Italy as a prisoner of war for three long and ghastly years until he escaped.

Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly (via wikipedia)

Lady Ranfurly had a useful war: she was a competent typist and obviously an asset as a social organiser (before her marriage she had earned her living as a secretary to the Governor of New South Wales). She was also extremely intuitive which led to her working, for example, for the prototype of the SOE in the Egyptian/Middle Eastern arenas. Once she had made herself indispensible, she travelled about in various war-zones with an astonishing freedom. Her personal courage is beyond doubt and she was stubborn as a mule in achieving her goals. She also met – and sometimes worked with – some of the most interesting personalities in the Middle Eastern arena, such as the appalling Gertrude Bell.

This is a real life Henrietta's War or Mrs Tim of the Regiment, and equally irresistible.

A bookish twist: after the war when her husband was sent to Nassau as Governor of the Bahamas, Lady Ranfurly was instrumental in establishing a service to ship books all over the world, wherever it was thought that a library was needed. This organisation became Book Aid International.

Rating: 10/10.

If you liked this... there is also has another volume of diaries and reminiscences of her childhood, The Ugly One: The childhood memoirs of Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly, 1913–1939 (1998).

  The Ugly One The Ugly One: Childhood Memoirs, 1913-39

Saturday, January 29, 2011

{weekend words}

...Otto wanted Christopher's friends to like him. He tried to approach them by the only method he knew: flirtation. This didn't usually displease them but it did make them decide that he was a quite ordinary boy of his kind, unworthy of their further curiosity. So they went back to talking English with Christopher. Otto, who didn't understand the language, was obliged to read their faces, gestures and tones of voice as an animal does - with the result that he ended by knowing a great deal more about them then they knew about him.

Christopher Isherwood 

Christopher And His Kind

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Now I've got a brand spanking new Kindle, 
I wonder if this will stop my pining 
after unaffordable hardbacks 
as I wait the inevitable year 
for the paperback. 
Like this one:

Edith Cavell

Diana Souhami (2010)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

{review} the eye of love

Margery Sharp The Eye of Love (1957)

The Eye of Love (Virago Modern Classics)

The Eye of Love is a Virago Modern Classic and a blessed return to the light of day for a wonderful Margery Sharp book. As the world's biggest Cluny Brown fan {REVIEW}, I leapt on this book and devoured it. The Eye of Love is set in 1932 and traces the relationships of two long-term lovers who are forced to part in order for the male partner to save his business from bankruptcy and his mother from penury. Harry Gibson must marry the "unmarriageable daughter" of the business rival who has taken over his failing fur salon. The 'eye of love' enables a quite prosaic couple to see each other not as the scrawny ageing Miss Dolores Diver and the pudgy dull Mr Gibson, but rather as star-crossed lovers, "my Spanish Rose" and "my King Hal". To each other they have remained as ageless and fascinating as at their first meeting:
'Remember the chappie who fell into the drum?' asked Mr Gibson tenderly.
They had met for the first time at a Chelsea Arts Ball - Dolores dressed as a Spanish Dancer, Mr Gibson as a brown paper parcel.
'Of course I remember,' whispered Dolores.
'Remember those young devils who started to unwrap me?'
'It didn't matter. You'd pyjamas underneath...'
'I shall never forget how wonderful you looked, pulling me out of the cardboard...
'I couldn't bear to see you laughed at,' murmured Dolores. 'You were too big...'
Their lives, after their melancholy farewell ("They clung in genuine and ridiculous grief, collapsed together on the Rexine settee"), are filled with despair. Dolores, no longer a kept woman, must take in a lodger who attempts to ingratiate himself into her charms, assuming that the house - decorated as befits a middle-class mistress - is evidence that his landlady is a wealthy woman. Mr Gibson fares little better engaged to the jealous and hideously affectionate Miranda ("he felt he could hardly trust himself with Miranda at the top of the steep office flight"):
Kissing her had been like kissing a sea-horse. Mr Gibson knocked back his drink thankfully. ('I shall turn into a sozzler,' thought Mr Gibson - dispassionate as a physician diagnosing the course of a disease.)
He is fortunate to find companionship with Miranda's father. Mr Joyce has taken over Harry's failing business and made a success of it and got his daughter off his hands. Both provide each other with some much-needed masculine support amid the wedding chaos - "the millinery inferno" as Sharp brilliantly describes it.

But Dolores, having spent the past ten years devoted to her lover, has lost all of her friends, and sinks further into despair. The (ghastly) sitting-room which the lovers furnished together remains a shrine to her lost love:
'King Hal!' for instance, Dolores would cry - before the bronze lady: an obvious piece of nonsensicality. Or 'Big Harry!' ejaculated Miss Diver, caressing a stuffed ermine.
The observer of Dolores' depression is her odd young orphaned niece Martha who too has an 'eye of love' - she has the ability to see beauty in the everyday objects of daily life which she tries to draw: the gas oven, a street grating which looks like a Greek temple to her, a saucepan:
Martha suddenly perceived that the whole shape of the saucepan, foreshortened pan-part and straight handle, fitted into another, invisible shape: a long oval. It was a very happy moment.
Everything works out in the end, of course and the right people get their comeuppance. It is a sad and funny book, a bit Miss Pettigrew in parts. Highly recommended.

Rating: 10/10.
Words I'm going to use from now on: cantrip; ruddled; gage.
Typo: p.98 - natural]y
If you liked this... Cluny Brown or Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Tangenitally, I was also a little reminded, by the constrained life of Mr Gibson in the stuffy Knightsbridge flat of his fiancée's family, where everyone tries to be very English and shed their (hidden) Continental ways, of, I think it is, Anita Brookner's Family and Friends. (I say 'I think' as it's sometimes hard to distinguish one Brookner from another and I've packed mine away so I can't check).

 Family and Friends Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Persephone Classics)

Monday, January 24, 2011

{review} the manchurian... tourist

Richard Condon The Manchurian Candidate (1959)
Olen Steinhauer The Tourist (2009)

 The Manchurian Candidate  The Manchurian Candidate

I rather miss the Cold War. Only in the fictional sense, of course. The Cold War provided, for the writer of fiction - the Le Carres, Deightons, McCarrys, MacInneses, et al - a simplistic background which the reader too could pretty much take for granted what they would be offered. Upon this 'understood' background could be built a narrative of great complexity. Friends, enemies, institutions, events, ideologies, motivations, values: 'Cold War' was shorthand for intrigue, mystery, danger. You knew what you were getting. The fall of the Iron Curtain left a big gap. One notices it in, for instance, the somewhat desperate search for new villains in the post-80s' James Bond films. What sort of enemy can provide a genuine frisson of fear comparable to that of the deadly old poisoned umbrella-carrying nuclear nemesis? Oil oligarchs? Media tycoons? Terrorists? Frankly, I find them all a bit imaginatively tame post Soviet Bloc. In fiction. Of course.

As such, it was probably a mistake for me to read a genuine Cold War thriller next to a modern take on the topic. Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate is, quite simply, a masterpiece of a spy thriller. Brutal, plausible, frightening yet also witty, sexy and very, very cool. It is a wonderful evocation of the post-Korean pre-Vietnam Wars' 'Mad Men' era (I must track down the Sinatra film). It eerily foreshadows both the Kennedy assignations (I want to read this book now: What Have They Built You to Do? The Manchurian Candidate and Cold War America by M.F. Jacobson) and the 1970s' exposés of the moral bankruptcy of US politicking. 

What Have They Built You to Do?: The Manchurian Candidate and Cold War America

Is Sgt. Raymond Shaw a hero who saved his unit from destruction in battle and won the Congressional Medal of Honour? Or is Raymond Shaw the perfect weapon - a deadly sleeper agent brainwashed to obey the enemy's every command by a Chinese mastermind, "[his] entire expression.. theatrically sardonic as thought he had been advised by prepaid cable that the late Dr. Fu Manchu had been his uncle". I loved this book's drunkenness on words too ("he clutched the telephone like an osculatorium").

Rating: 10/10.
If you liked this... Deighton. Le Carré. McCarry. MacInnes.

The Tourist The Tourist

And then I moved onto Olen Steinhauer's The Tourist, about which I'd read good things. And it was good; and it was an enjoyable read. But it just didn't have the lustre of the real deal. A Deighton, a Le Carré, the Condon: these are books of such tangled complexity that you sometimes reach the end and are still not entirely sure whether good triumphed over evil. I love that feeling of (fictional) moral discomfort that is such a marker of the gritty spy novel. Steinhauer likes to dot his 'i's and cross his 't's for the reader. The best bits were the whole 'Tourist' scenario (the travelling black ops CIA agent/problemsolver). In this computer day and age can we really believe that no one realised the hero had all those Russian connections? I mustn't give away too much, but I wasn't convinced. But, as I said, an enjoyable, escapist book but all a little too neat.

Rating: 6/10.
If you liked this... my next spy book will be either Alan Furst's The Spies of Warsaw or William Boyd's Restless. Check out the tempting list of spy reads at a work in progress

 THE SPIES OF WARSAW  Restless: A Novel

Saturday, January 22, 2011

{weekend words}

Would we admire the Parthenon if it still had a roof, and no longer appealed to the modern stereotype taste for an outline emerging from rough stone? If we repainted it in its original red, blue and gold, and if we reinstalled the huge, gaudy cult-figure of Athena, festooned in bracelets, rings and necklaces, we could not avoid the question that threatens our whole concept of the classical: did the Greeks have bad taste? When, in the 1950s, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens spent $1,500,000 building a copy of the Stoa of Attalus in the old market place they were faithful to every known detail except one - they couldn't bring themselves to paint it red and blue as it had been in the original. To have been authentic would have made it seem untrue to the modern stereotype of the classical.

This is a plaster cast of a kore (maiden) in the Museum of Classical Archaeology in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge (UK). It has been painted to give an idea of what ancient Greek statuary may have looked like. The original dates from c.530BC Athens.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I've been packing up my books these last two months. Every wall of my study was covered. Ditto, bedroom. I couldn't see out the windows. Much of it was stuff I would probably not read again. A lot was study-related. When did I last look at a Greek grammar primer, let alone twenty of them? So, I packed things up. 2500 or so. I left out the TBR and some things I couldn't bear to pack, but all in all I was pretty ruthless. I thought to myself that if I don't need to climb up this ladder and go through these boxes in the next year, then maybe I could even bring myself to GET RID OF SOME BOOKS PERMANENTLY. Or at least replace them with e-copies (I've just bought a Kindle). Disposal is a step too far at the moment tho'. 

The problem with book packing is that you keep coming across titles you'd love to read again. And sometimes they are part of a series. And sometimes you don't own all the series, even if you've read them all, but you've always meant to track down the missing ones. And so I've already bought one of the missing ones and no doubt the other two will soon join them. 

If you haven't read any of Dorothy Dunnett's 'Dolly' series (mostly 1970s), you're missing a treat. Quirky, funny spy-mysteries with exotic settings and strong, clever female heroines who run into trouble but managed to rescue themselves with the aid of the mysterious Johnson Johnson and his yacht 'Dolly'. Each one is written in the first person - the heroine's voice - and this allows both a distinctive and idiosyncratic voice and also ups the mystery quotient as we only gain the heroine's perspective. 

All are out of print, shamefully. Some of them were published under the pseudonym 'Dorothy Halliday' (Dunnett's maiden name). The 'Dolly and the ----- Bird' titles were also reissued under other more prosaic titles for the US market and then different titles again for the UK market on re-issue (fantastic fiction gives the list here: so that Dolly and the Doctor Bird is also found as Operation Nassau (UK) AND Match for a Murderer (US). Confusing...) I do have some self-restraint (not a lot), so I will restrict myself to the Dolly and the... ones, I think.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

{review} some country houses

James Lees-Milne Some Country Houses and Their Owners (2009)

I am completely in love with James Lees-Milne. So witty. So charming. I keep my eye out for cheaper copies of his diaries (recently reissued in less expurgated form) and his biography by Michael Bloch is on the wishlist. This slim volume represents Lees-Milne's wartime activity: travelling around Britain to the country-homes of aristocrats and once wealthy landowners who have fallen on hard times and are considering leaving their properties to the nation. This is the formative phase of the National Trust. Lees-Milne combines a brilliant eye for the absurd with a genuine love of the old, history-filled buildings he visits. The result is sparklingly funny yet quite moving – Lees-Milne, as he knows, is recording the end of an era.

Rating: 9/10

If you liked this… diaries (from which these accounts were extracted), biography, letters, you name it. He's like Patrick Leigh Fermor on speed.

James Lees-Milne: The Life Diaries, 1942-1954: v. 1

Monday, January 17, 2011

{review} two books about wolves

M. F. K. Fisher How to Cook a Wolf (1942, rev. 1954)
Fred Vargas Seeking Whom He May Devour (2004)

How to Cook a Wolf Seeking Whom He May Devour

In the whole Julia & Julia Child whirlwind I rather thought that the eccentric M. F. K. Fisher might get a better look-in. I've previously read her Alphabet for Gourmets – a witty A to Z of culinary delights (available on-line here from the Gourmet archives) and loved her witty style of food-writing:
W is for wanton …

… and the great difference between the way a man eats and has his lady love eat, when he plans to lead her to the nearest couch, and the way a woman will feed a man for the same end.

A man is much more straightforward, usually. He believes with the unreasoning intuition of a cat or a wolf that he must be strong for the fray and that strength comes from meat: he orders rare steak, with plenty of potatoes alongside, and perhaps a pastry afterwards. He may have heard that oysters or a glass of port work aphrodisiacal wonders, more on himself than on the little woman, or, in an unusual attempt at subtlety augmented by something he vaguely remembers from an old movie, he may provide a glass or two of champagne. But in general, his gastronomical as well as alcoholic approach to the delights of love is an uncomplicated one which has almost nothing to do with the pleasurable preparation of his companion.

A woman contemplating seduction, on the other hand, is wanton.

A wanton woman, according to the dictionary, is unchaste, licentious, and lewd. This definition obviously applies to her moral rather than her culinary side. Considered solely in connection with the pleasures of the table, a wanton woman is one who with cunning and deliberation prepares a meal which will draw another person to her. The reasons she does so may be anything from political to polite, but her basic acknowledgment that sexual play can be a sure aftermath of gastronomical bliss dictates the game, from the first invitation to the final mouthful of ginger omelette.

An Alphabet for Gourmets 

Fisher would have made an excellent blogger, with her ability to sum up perfectly and avoid the extraneous. Her authorial pose is so definitively worldly, so apposite. I suppose her nearest comparison in this culinary authority is Elizabeth David – they share a simplicity of style which makes reading a cook-book into an intellectually satisfying pursuit. It is the journey towards the meal that fascinates and inspires. 

Fisher's 'wolf' here is the 'wolf at the door' – hunger. She was brought up in poverty and her relationship with food is coloured by that experience. This may also make her a particularly good spokeswoman for wartime austerity for the gourmet cook, which is what this little book is mostly about: how to make do without dropping all of your standards. Each chapter has a catchy title ("How to Be Content with a Vegetable Love", for instance): "Almost all vegetables are good, although there is some doubt still about parsnips (which I share)." My only criticism is the up-dating that occured in the 1954 revision - Fisher's comments are included throughout the text in square brackets, as she comments on this previous austere self. This proves quite distracting as she has a lot to add. Some of the recipes look pretty vile to modern eyes, as she herself admits ("uninspired, but dependale"), but this book is an interesting insight into American wartime austerity. When contrasted with the dire food situation in the UK at the same time, it doesn't look so austere.

Rating: 7/10. Alphabet for Gourmets has aged better.
If you like this… anything by Elizabeth David.

The wolf loose in Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas is another animal entirely, though he too is hungry - for blood. If you haven't encountered Vargas' eccentric French  police inspector Adamsberg yet, you've missed a total treat. OK, yes, another flawed copper with family problems. But the plot, characterisation, setting and writing of this book is flawless. Is a giant wolf roaming the French Alps picking off its prey, or is something even more sinister going on? I sometimes think that everyone in a Vargas' book is completely barking mad and this book is a roll-call of the most eccentric and memorable characters you might ever encounter. In sum: a baffling and intelligent crime thriller. I can't imagine translating a Vargas' book – the language is so clever.

Rating: 9/10. Mysteries in Paradise has another fine review here.
If you like this… try other Fred Vargas' books: The Three Evangelists, The Chalk Circle Man, Have Mercy on Us All, etc. (aren't the titles brilliant?). Adamberg is an old school guy like Simenon's Maigret.

{READ IN 2018}

  • 30.
  • 29.
  • 28.
  • 27.
  • 26. The Grave's a Fine & Private Place - Alan Bradley
  • 25. This is What Happened - Mick Herron
  • 24. London Rules - Mick Herron
  • 23. The Third Eye - Ethel Lina White
  • 22. Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mewed - Alan Bradley
  • 21. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust - Alan Bradley
  • 20. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches - Alan Bradley
  • 19. Speaking from Among the Bones - Alan Bradley
  • 18. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
  • 17. Miss Ranskill Comes Home - Barbara Euphan Todd
  • 16. The Long Arm of the Law - Martin Edwards (ed.)
  • 15. Nobody Walks - Mick Herron
  • 14. The Talented Mr Ripley - Patricia Highsmith
  • 13. Portrait of a Murderer - Anthony Gilbert
  • 12. Murder is a Waiting Game - Anthony Gilbert
  • 11. Tenant for the Tomb - Anthony Gilbert
  • 10. Death Wears a Mask - Anthony Gilbert
  • 9. Night Encounter - Anthony Gilbert
  • 8. The Visitor - Anthony Gilbert
  • 7. The Looking Glass Murder - Anthony Gilbert
  • 6. The Voice - Anthony Gilbert
  • 5. The Fingerprint - Anthony Gilbert
  • 4. Ring for a Noose - Anthony Gilbert
  • 3. No Dust in the Attic - Anthony Gilbert
  • 2. Uncertain Death - Anthony Gilbert
  • 1. She Shall Died - Anthony Gilbert

{READ IN 2017}

  • 134. Third Crime Lucky - Anthony Gilbert
  • 133. Death Takes a Wife - Anthony Gilbert
  • 132. Death Against the Clock - Anthony Gilbert
  • 131. Give Death a Name - Anthony Gilbert
  • 130. Riddle of a Lady - Anthony Gilbert
  • 129. And Death Came Too - Anthony Gilbert
  • 128. Snake in the Grass - Anthony Gilbert
  • 127. Footsteps Behind Me - Anthony Gilbert
  • 126. Miss Pinnegar Disappears - Anthony Gilbert
  • 125. Lady-Killer - Anthony Gilbert
  • 124. A Nice Cup of Tea - Anthony Gilbert
  • 123. Die in the Dark - Anthony Gilbert
  • 122. Death in the Wrong Room - Anthony Gilbert
  • 121. The Spinster's Secret - Anthony Gilbert
  • 120. Lift up the Lid - Anthony Gilbert
  • 119. Don't Open the Door - Anthony Gilbert
  • 118. The Black Stage - Anthony Gilbert
  • 117. A Spy for Mr Crook - Anthony Gilbert
  • 116. The Scarlet Button - Anthony Gilbert
  • 115. He Came by Night - Anthony Gilbert
  • 114. Something Nasty in the Woodshed - Anthony Gilbert
  • 113. Death in the Blackout - Anthony Gilbert
  • 112. The Woman in Red - Anthony Gilbert
  • 111. The Vanishing Corpse - Anthony Gilbert
  • 110. London Crimes - Martin Edwards (ed.)
  • 109. The Midnight Line - Anthony Gilbert
  • 108. The Clock in the Hatbox - Anthony Gilbert
  • 107. Dear Dead Woman - Anthony Gilbert
  • 106. The Bell of Death - Anthony Gilbert
  • 105. Treason in my Breast - Anthony Gilbert
  • 104. Murder has no Tongue - Anthony Gilbert
  • 103. The Man who Wasn't There - Anthony Gilbert
  • 102. Murder by Experts - Anthony Gilbert
  • 101. The Perfect Murder Case - Christopher Bush
  • 100. The Plumley Inheritance - Christopher Bush
  • 99. Spy - Bernard Newman
  • 98. Cargo of Eagles - Margery Allingham & Philip Youngman Carter
  • 97. The Mind Readers - Margery Allingham
  • 96. The China Governess - Margery Allingham
  • 95. Hide My Eyes - Margery Allingham
  • 94. The Beckoning Lady - Margery Allingham
  • 93. The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham
  • 92. More Work for the Undertaker - Margery Allingham
  • 91. Coroner's Pidgin - Margery Allingham
  • 90. Traitor's Purse - Margery Allingham
  • 89. The Fashion in Shrouds - Margery Allingham
  • 88. The Case of the Late Pig - Margery Allingham
  • 87. Dancers in Mourning - Margery Allingham
  • 86. Flowers for the Judge - Margery Allingham
  • 85. Death of a Ghost - Margery Allingham
  • 84. Sweet Danger - Margery Allingham
  • 83. Police at the Funeral - Margery Allingham
  • 82. Look to the Lady - Margery Allingham
  • 81. Mystery Mile - Margery Allingham
  • 80. The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham
  • 79. The White Cottage Mystery - Margery Allingham
  • 78. Murder Underground - Mavis Doriel Hay
  • 77. No Man's Land - David Baldacci
  • 76. The Escape - David Baldacci
  • 75. The Forgotten - David Baldacci
  • 74. Zero Day - David Baldacci
  • JULY
  • 73. Pilgrim's Rest - Patricia Wentworth
  • 72. The Case is Closed - Patricia Wentworth
  • 71. The Watersplash - Patricia Wentworth
  • 70. Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth
  • 69. The Listening Eye - Patricia Wentworth
  • 68. Through the Wall - Patricia Wentworth
  • 67. Out of the Past - Patricia Wentworth
  • 66. Mistress - Amanda Quick
  • 65. The Black Widow - Daniel Silva
  • 64. The Narrow - Michael Connelly
  • 63. The Poet - Michael Connelly
  • 62. The Visitor - Lee Child
  • 61. No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories - Lee Child
  • JUNE
  • 60. The Queen's Accomplice - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 59. Mrs Roosevelt's Confidante - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 58. The PM's Secret Agent - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 57. His Majesty's Hope - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 56. Princess Elizabeth's Spy - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 55. Mr Churchill's Secretary - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 54. A Lesson in Secrets - Jacqueline Winspear
  • 53. Hit & Run - Lawrence Block
  • 52. Hit Parade - Lawrence Block
  • 51. Hit List - Lawrence Block
  • 50. Six Were Present - E. R. Punshon
  • 49. Triple Quest - E. R. Punshon
  • MAY
  • 48. Dark is the Clue - E. R. Punshon
  • 47. Brought to Light - E. R. Punshon
  • 46. Strange Ending - E. R. Punshon
  • 45. The Attending Truth - E. R. Punshon
  • 44. The Golden Dagger - E. R. Punshon
  • 43. The Secret Search - E. R. Punshon
  • 42. Spook Street - Mick Herron
  • 41. Real Tigers - Mick Herron
  • 40. Dead Lions - Mick Herron
  • 39. Slow Horses - Mick Herron
  • 38. Everybody Always Tells - E. R. Punshon
  • 37. So Many Doors - E. R. Punshon
  • 36. The Girl with All the Gifts - M. R. Carey
  • 35. A Scream in Soho - John G. Brandon
  • 34. A Murder is Arranged - Basil Thomson
  • 33. The Milliner's Hat Mystery - Basil Thomson
  • 32. Who Killed Stella Pomeroy? - Basil Thomson
  • 31. The Dartmoor Enigma - Basil Thomson
  • 30. The Case of the Dead Diplomat - Basil Thomson
  • 29. The Case of Naomi Clynes - Basil Thomson
  • 28. Richardson Scores Again - Basil Thomson
  • 27. A Deadly Thaw - Sarah Ward
  • 26. The Spy Paramount - E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • 25. The Great Impersonation - E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • 24. Ragdoll - Daniel Cole
  • 23. The Case of Sir Adam Braid - Molly Thynne
  • 22. The Ministry of Fear - Graham Greene
  • 21. The Draycott Murder Mystery - Molly Thynne
  • 20. The Murder on the Enriqueta - Molly Thynne
  • 19. The Nowhere Man - Gregg Hurwitz
  • 18. He Dies and Makes No Sign - Molly Thynne
  • 17. Death in the Dentist's Chair - Molly Thynne
  • 16. The Crime at the 'Noah's Ark' - Molly Thynne
  • 15. Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh
  • 14. Night School - Lee Child
  • 13. The Dancing Bear - Frances Faviell
  • 12. The Reluctant Cannibals - Ian Flitcroft
  • 11. Fear Stalks the Village - Ethel Lina White
  • 10. The Plot - Irving Wallace
  • 9. Understood Betsy - Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • 8. Give the Devil his Due - Sulari Gentill
  • 7. A Murder Unmentioned - Sulari Gentill
  • 6. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
  • 5. Gentlemen Formerly Dressed - Sulari Gentill
  • 4. While She Sleeps - Ethel Lina White
  • 3. A Chelsea Concerto - Frances Faviell
  • 2. Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul - H. G. Wells
  • 1. Heft - Liz Moore
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