Monday, June 27, 2011

{review} hindoo holiday

J. R. Ackerley Hindoo Holiday: An Indian Journal (1932)

Hindoo Holiday: An Indian Journal (New York Review Books Classics)

Park your political correctness at the door. 

In 1923 J. R. Ackerley took the advice of a Cambridge friend - E. M. Forster - and got himself a job in India as secretary to the Maharajah of Chhatarpur. Hindoo Holiday - a striking example of the travel-memoir genre - was the result. When it first appeared it was in a form expurgated of the Maharajah's homosexuality, among other things, and it wasn't until the 1970s that the full text became available. 
He wanted some one to love him - His Highness, I mean; that was his real need, I think. He alleged other reasons, of course - an English private secretary, a tutor for his son; for he wasn't really a bit like the Roman Emperors, and had to make excuses.
As a matter of fact he had a private secretary already, though an Indian one, and his son was only two years old; but no doubt he felt that the British Raj, in the person of the Political Agent who kept an eye on the State expenditure and other things, would prefer a label - any of the tidy buff labels that the official mind is trained to recognize and understand - to being told, "I want some one to love me." But that, I believe, was his real reason nevertheless.
He wanted a friend. He wanted understanding, and sympathy, and philosophic comfort; and he sent to England for them. This will seem strange to many people who have always understood that Wisdom dwells in the East; but he believed that it abode in the West - and perhaps I should add that he had never been there.
The Maharajah - an exceedingly camp figure in Ackerley's portrayal - wants to discuss philosophical questions with his Cambridge-educated secretary, who he assumes will be the fount of all knowledge:
"Is there a God or is there no God?" rapped out His Highness impatiently. "That is the questions. That is what I want to know. Spencer says there is a God, Lewes says no. So you must read them, Mr. Ackerley, and tell me which of them is right."
Ackerley soon finds himself quite out of his depth: he is bewildered by India - the filth and strange customs; he is alarmed by his fellow English visitors in the region (almost caricatures); he is troubled by the problem of how he can seduce a nice looking boy; he is totally at sea with the Maharajah whose life is governed by his interpretations of omens and by his 'cupidity' (as he himself terms it); and he soon realises that the palace contains a number of enemies who would like to see his tenure with the Maharajah cut short.

Verdict? I love Ackerley's style; I could read his writing forever - so conversational yet so perfectly structured and nuanced. His subject matter sometimes made me uneasy, but this is a memoir of another era - one just accepts that.

Rating: 9/10.

If you liked this: in terms of books about India this was, for me, right up there with Kipling's Kim and Scott's Raj Quartet. I have Ackerley's My Dog Tulip - a memoir of his dog - on the TBR, as his writing is such a delight.

Kim (Penguin Classics)  The Jewel in the Crown (The Raj Quartet) My Dog Tulip

Saturday, June 25, 2011

{weekend words}

‘You simply clutter up your head with all that stuff and nonsense, what’s your name, yes, you, Edmée. An idea for the smoking-room? All right, here’s one: Blue for the walls – a ferocious blue. The carpet purple – a purple that plays second fiddle to the blue of the walls. Against that you needn’t be afraid of using as much black as you like and a splash of gold in the furniture and ornaments.’
‘Yes, you’re right, Fred. But it will be rather drastic with all those strong colours. It’s going to look rather charmless without a lighter note somewhere . . . a white vase or a statue.’
‘Nonsense,’ he interrupted rather sharply. ‘The white vase you want will be me – me, stark naked. And we mustn’t forget a cushion or some thingumabob in pumpkin-red for when I’m running about stark naked in the smoking-room.’
Secretly attracted and at the same time disgusted, she cherished these fanciful ideas for turning their future home into a sort of disreputable palace, a temple to the greater glory of her husband.

Colette (1920)


Thursday, June 23, 2011

{review} rogue roman

Lance Horner Rogue Roman (1965)

The semi-darkness behind the closed gate enveloped Cleon. For the first time in many months, he thought of his former privacy under the sandy ledge back on the oasis and longed to be alone in order to quiet the overwhelming desire that had taken possession of him. His fingers smeared the Greek's still-warm blood over his body. He did not want to kill him but. . . yes, he must admit, he enjoyed it; enjoyed plunging his sword into the soft flesh beneath him, thrilled when the hot blood shot up on him... He wanted, he needed, he must have a woman - any woman - or failing that, a few minutes alone with himself.
When I was packing up a lot of my books earlier this year (so I could see out the windows again), I found a small pile of trashy fiction which I'd bought because the books reflected a byway of my professional area of interest: the ancient world. I'm going to pass them onto a friend, but before they go off in the mail I succumbed to one of them, Lance Horner's Rogue Roman.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I don't want to discuss its historical accuracy, as that's not really the point of reading this sort of book. Let's just say that the settings are remarkably detailed - they read a bit like a description of an I, Claudius set. The characterisation is vivid and there aren't too many sex scenes of such overwrought graphicness as to induce hysteria ("the reek of costly oils and rare unguents and the flat, alkaline animal odour of male passion fanned into heat"). It is completely over the top though (not least in its  homoeroticism). 

Our hero is Cleon, a sex-obsessed young man of mysterious descent (being tall and blonde in a land of short dark people) living in poverty in a Syrian oasis. 
Although he did not realise it, his own body was the only thing he loved, perhaps because it was the only thing of beauty he had ever seen.
...the slabs of muscles on his chest proudly displayed the copper rosettes of his paps...
By chance he is recruited to be a mime performer in the depraved city of Antioch, where his sexy rendition of the myth of Leda and the Swan earns him public acclaim in a city where "[n]owhere in the world had vice reached such exquisite refinements." Unfortunately he gets mixed up with pirates and is enslaved and sent to Rome as a gladiator. By chance he catches the eye of Agrippina - mother of the Emperor Nero -  who recognises that he is not only the bastard son of a Germanic prince she once slept with, but also the half-brother of her evil son Nero. She decides to pull a swap so that Cleon sleeps with Nero's virgin wife Octavia (Nero prefers boys) and produces an heir. Then she can bump off her son (her standard successional modus operandi) and as regent can control the new Emperor. It all goes badly wrong: Cleon is faced with death on the cross, but is saved by a Vestal Virgin and sets out to rescue Octavia, whom he now realises he loves and who has been sent into exile in Greece. A further strand of the story is a 'buddy movie' type scenario, where Cleon is assisted by his trusty mates Mamax (a former male prostitute in Antioch) and the Numidian stud Jano. They stick with the hero through thick and thin, and are also considerably brighter than their colleague. 

It is quite a fun read, all in all, though as Kyle Onstott (with whom Horner wrote the gay 'classic' Child of the Sun) writes in the Foreword, "Incident follows vivid incident until one wonders that so much could happen to one young man." Indeed.

Rating: it wasn't as bad as I thought. 5/10.

If you liked this... you might enjoy Glorious Trash (Rogue Roman is here). Two others in my classical-reception-trashy-novels-pile are The Roman by the Finnish writer Mika Waltari (1966: an abridged Pan edition but the typeface is too small for comfort) and one I read a few years ago, A Greek God at the Ladies' Club by Jenna McKnight (2003), a variation on the Pygmalion story styled as romance literature and set in St. Louis (quite amusing). Woohoo! Love reading trashy books and pretending they're relevant to my studies.

A Greek God at the Ladies' Club  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


While this book concentrates on the scandal that enveloped the Getty Museum regarding unethical/illegal collecting practices, apparently it also notes some issues with an Australian antiquity collection. Interesting.

Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum

Jason Felch & Ralph Frammolino (2011)
The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum

Monday, June 20, 2011

{review} the ghost map

The Ghost Map: A Street, an Epidemic and the Hidden Power of Urban Networks The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

Steven Johnson has written a very accessible science book. The core of The Ghost Map is a vivid retelling of the outbreak of the 1854 Broad Street cholera epidemic. The birth of modern epidemiology can be traced to the work tracing the source of the outbreak and the (slow, so slow) acceptance that cholera was a waterborne killer. Johnson is a good story-teller and well describes both the signs and symptoms of cholera and the historical background to the disease. It is astonishing how entrenched in the Victorian scientific community was antipathy to believing cholera anything but an airborne disease (a 'miasma'), despite so much evidence to the contrary.

There are two heroes in this story:

Dr John Snow (source)

The first is Dr John Snow (the man who astounded the world by giving Queen Victoria an anaesthetic during childbirth) whose painstaking analysis of the water supply of the Broad Street area, backed up with statistics on its users, led to his remarkable solution to the epidemic when he persuaded the local authority to remove the handle from the Broad Street pump. Cholera had colonised the Broad Street well through sewage contamination.

The Rev. Henry Whitehead (source)

The second hero is the Rev. Henry Whitehead, the local curate, who conducted house-to-house interviews in the area. He is almost doubly heroic since he held an entirely different theory to Dr Snow about the cholera epidemic, but was smart enough and man enough - unlike the rest of the scientific community - to concede that Dr Snow was likely correct and to offer his services in any way they could be used.
"You and I may not live to see the day," Snow explained to the young curate, "and my name may be forgotten when it comes; but the time will arrive when great outbreaks of cholera will be things of the past; and it is the knowledge of the way in which the disease is propagated which will cause them to disappear."

Snow's cholera map showing the clustering
of cholera around Broad Street (source)

As Johnson so well describes, it is a consequence of Snow's and Whitehead's data collection that the ordinary people of Soho have lived on in the historical register:
There is something remarkable about the minutiae of all these ordinary lives in a seemingly ordinary week persisting in the human record for almost two centuries. When that chemist’s son spooned out his sweet pudding, he couldn’t possibly have imagined that the details of his meal would be a matter of interest to anyone else in Victorian London, much less citizens of the twenty-first century. This is one of the ways that disease, and particularly epidemic disease, plays havoc with traditional histories. Most world-historic events—great military battles, political revolutions—are self-consciously historic to the participants living through them. They act knowing that their decisions will be chronicled and dissected for decades or centuries to come. But epidemics create a kind of history from below: they can be world-changing, but the participants are almost inevitably ordinary folk, following their established routines, not thinking for a second about how their actions will be recorded for posterity. And of course, if they do recognize that they are living through a historical crisis, it’s often too late—because, like it or not, the primary way that ordinary people create this distinct genre of history is by dying.
Johnson also finds a third hero in the "clash of microbe and man that played out on Broad Street for ten days in 1854", where 700 people died. This unlikely hero is, in fact, the villain of the piece: Vibrio cholerae. Johnson has some admiration for that tenacious little bacterium which discovered a wonderful world of opportunity in industrialised, over-populated, under-sanitized ("What are we going to do with all of this shit?") London. 

At the end of The Ghost Map, Johnson attempts to extrapolate what we modern city-dwellers might learn from the Broad Street epidemic. I thought this more conceptual section was rather less successful than the cholera narrative, but Johnson's points are entirely valid: living in a modern city extends your life span; simultaneously, any threat to a modern city is "an open invitation to mass killing" whether than be by bacteria or terrorists:
The Twin Towers sat on approximately one acre of real estate, and yet they harbored a population of 50,000 on a workday. That level of density offers a long list of potential benefits, but it is also an open invitation for mass killing—and, what’s worse, mass killing that doesn’t require an army to carry it out. You just need enough ammunition to destroy two buildings, and right there you’ve got a body count that rivals the ten years of American losses in the Vietnam War.
The Ghost Map reminds us that we still live in very frightening times.

Rating: 7/10.

If you liked this... I'd like to read more about Snow's anaesthetic experiments. He did quite a lot of them on himself, which may have attributed to his early death. I have a vague recollection of seeing a book about this in a review somewhere...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

{weekend words}

A slaughterhouse at the edge of Soho, on Marshall Street, killed an average of five oxen and seven sheep per day, the blood and filth from the animals draining into gulley holes on the street. Without proper barns, residents converted traditional dwellings into “cow houses”—herding twenty-five or thirty cows into a single room. In some cases, cows were lifted into attics via windlass, and shuttered there in the dark until their milk gave out. Even the pets could be overwhelming. One man who lived on the upper floor at 38 Silver Street kept twenty-seven dogs in a single room. He would leave what must have been a prodigious output of canine excrement to bake in the brutal summer sun on the roof of the house. A charwoman down the street kept seventeen dogs, cats, and rabbits in her single-room flat. The human crowding was almost as oppressive. Whitehead liked to tell the story of visiting one densely packed household, and asking an impoverished woman there how she managed to get along in such close quarters. “Well, sir,” she replied, “we was comfortable enough till the gentleman come in the middle.” She then pointed to a chalk circle in the center of the room, defining the region that the “gentleman” was allowed to occupy.
Steven Johnson (2006)

The Ghost Map: A Street, an Epidemic and the Hidden Power of Urban Networks The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

Thursday, June 16, 2011

{review} smut

Alan Bennett Smut: Two Unseemly Stories (2010)


The OED defines the sort of "smut" we understand here as "indecent or obscene language". Alan Bennett's Smut consists of two stories, two "unseemly" stories. In the first, 'The Greening of Mrs Donaldson', the landlady protagonist Mrs Donaldson finds herself in the unusual position of having a tenant couple pay their overdue rent by letting her watch them have sex. In the second story, 'The Shielding of Mrs Forbes', we enter the intimate world of familial sexual deception as a wife attempts to rescue her husband from the consequences of his homosexual infidelities while trying to keep his clinging mother and straying father reigned in. Both stories epitomize Bennett's marvellous ability to capture the bizarre that exists within the everyday.
‘We generally fool around a bit to start with,’ said Andy. ‘Oh yes,’ said Mrs Donaldson knowledgeably. ‘Foreplay.’ Mrs Donaldson’s first instinct was to look away so that rather than frankly considering this naked young man kissing his equally naked girlfriend with his hand buried between her legs she found herself looking at the floor and wondering if it was time she had the carpet cleaned. ‘Bring back memories?’ said Laura, Andy’s face now where his hand had been. ‘Ye-es,’ said Mrs Donaldson, though the truth was it was a memory of a vase in the British Museum. In any case Laura wasn’t listening, her body lifting itself clear of the insistent head. Other things Andy was doing had not even been in the British Museum, and Mrs Donaldson found herself leaning forward and slightly to the side in order to take in what the young man was up to and where. Though his face was largely buried between Laura’s legs Andy’s one unoccluded eye detected Mrs Donaldson’s focus of attention and obligingly shifted his head so that it rested against Laura’s thigh, thus providing Mrs Donaldson with an uninterrupted view.
In 'The Greening of Mrs Donaldson', Bennett beautifully constructs the day to day life of the widowed Mrs Donaldson as she grows into her role of a lifetime, that of volunteer 'patient' for a group of medical students. There are all those clever little moments when Bennett is so Bennett-like and gnomic:
She was playing a part both at home and at work, she was quite candid about that. She was learning to pretend whereas previously (when her husband was alive) the closest she got to pretence was politeness. Until now pretence with her had never been, as they said nowadays, proactive.
The heroine of 'The Shielding of Mrs Forbes' has also hidden her intelligence under a bushel.
She wasn’t wholly infatuated, though she liked the way he looked; but, so too did he and that uninfatuated her a bit.
She works quietly behind the scenes to unravel the disaster which her considerably less intelligent husband has brought upon himself.
‘It worried me’, said Betty ‘that he spent so much time on his fingernails, although men do moisturise nowadays, don’t they?’ ‘They do,’ agreed Mr Forbes (who didn’t). ‘He was always fastidious even as a boy and he had an umbrella at a very early age. Still, I wouldn’t worry about it. He likes you, that’s the main thing.’ ‘Yes,’ said Betty, ‘but he is gay.'
This new Graham now left his shirt on the floor and his shoes all over the place so that Betty wondered at first if he was having a breakdown before deciding he wasn’t imaginative enough for that.
I enjoyed these two self-aware little stories and I would have enjoyed a few more along the same lines. This must be a very small book (I read it on the Kindle, so can't judge its physical size).

Rating: 7/10

If you liked this... I read Smut at the same time that The Awl was re-reading Fanny Hill which, to my mind, is far easier to classify as smut (or, less politely, as outright pornography). I couldn't face Fanny Hill again (or, indeed, any of those forbidden books read as a teenager), but for purposes of research I was pleased to see Amazon recommending me (thanks to Smut) the reasonably funny Maudie (an Edwardian classic: "It certainly was a very fine one, and it had been admired all over Europe. They’ve got a model in clay of it in Suzette de Vries’ place in the Rue Colbert. On his birthday it is hung with ribbons.") and the really quite repulsive Venus in the Country. The Awl piece suggests that one attempts to get "...its globular appendage, that wondrous treasure bag of nature's sweets, which revelled round, and pursed up in the only wrinkles that are known to please, perfected the prospect" into polite conversation this week, but my own personal project is to use all of the following from Venus in the Country: "doughty tool", "receptive dell", "furry honeypot", "female lovepot", and "warm grotto". I'll let you know if I get the sack.

Maudie (Wordsworth Classic Erotica)  Venus in the Country Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland (Unexpurgated Edition) (Halcyon Classics)

Monday, June 13, 2011

{review} doctors from hell

Vivien Spitz Doctors from Hell (2004)

Doctors from Hell

"How nice it would be if we could drive the whole pack of them [the Poles] through such ovens. Yesterday two wagonloads of Polish ashes were taken away. Outside my office, the robinias are blooming beautifully, just as in Leipzig." (Diary of Dr Hermann Voss, professor of anatomy at the university in Posen, Poland)

Vivien Spitz was only twenty-two years old in 1946 when she was sent from America to the Nuremberg Trials in 1946 as a court reporter (stenographer). Her job involved recording the proceedings against doctors accused of war crimes in the Nazi concentration camps.

What she heard at the Trials - what she had to write down word for gruesome word - changed her life forever. But it was not until the late 1980s, when she began to hear stories about Holocaust deniers, that she was able to face the nightmarish visions she retained from her two years in Germany. The result, based on the transcripts on which she worked, is a frightening and horrible catalogue of crimes against humanity committed by men (and one woman) who had been trained to heal but chose to participate in something altogether less salubrious.

This litany of sins against the Hippocratic Oath is a painful and gruesome read and one wonders how Spitz (whose own German heritage speaks plainly in her name) had the courage to face these horrors for a second time. She is, obviously, an extraordinary woman, as the details of her subsequent career attest here).

The organisation of Doctors from Hell is a practical one: Spitz has divided her material into types of 'scientific' investigations undertaken on concentration camp inmates. These included experiments with high altitudes; freezing; malaria; bone, muscle and nerve regeneration; bone transplants; mustard gas; sulphanilamide; sea water drinking; epidemic jaundice; sterilization; typhus; poisons; incendiary bombs; infections and inflammations; phenol; coagulation; euthanasia; and skeleton collecting. The testimonies provided by survivors and witnesses are graphic and horrifying - a "barrage of horror", as Spitz notes. The defences provided by the treating doctors are very weak, not least because of the Nazi love of obsessive documentation.

Herta Oberheuser
"In administering therapeutical care, following established medical principles, as a woman in a difficult position, I did the best I could." (Herta Oberheuser, physician at Ravensbrück camp; sentenced to 20 years imprisonment but released in 1952 (!) for good behaviour, she practised as a GP until a survivor recognised her and she was finally struck off in 1958).

Karl Brandt
"It is immaterial for the experiment whether it is done with or against the will of the person concerned... The meaning is the motive—devotion to the community... ethics of every form are decided by an order or obedience." (Karl Brandt; Hitler's personal physician and head of his euthanasia program; executed 1948)
It is never far from the surface in these testimonia that the concentration camps provided a once in a lifetime opportunity to advance one's own research on the "useless eaters" without fear of consequences. At the medical trials held at Dachau prior to those at Nuremberg, one defendent, Dr Schilling, offered the defense that, "his work was part of his duty; that it was unfinished; and that the Dachau court should do what it could to help him finish his experiments for the benefit of science." Terrifying stuff.

Doctors from Hell is saved from being a simple catalogue of evil by Spitz's alternation of the trials with details of her life at the time, as a young American woman in Nuremberg. The description of the wartime destruction of Nuremberg by the Allied forces underlines that encounters between good and evil are far from ethically simplistic.
Witness: There were only three types of resistance possible. First of all, emigration for a person who was able; second, open resistance which meant a concentration camp or the death penalty, and to my knowledge, never met with any success; third, passive resistance by apparent yielding, misplacing and delaying orders, criticism among one’s friends, in short, what writers today call "internal emigration."
What Spitz took from Nuremberg was an understanding that responsibility and accountability would be the foundations that underpinned her sense of personal duty. Quirkily, she aligns these with Bob Dylan's lines from 'Blowin’ in the Wind': How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?

Doctors from Hell is in places a tad overwrought and incongruously anecdotal - "As I looked at Karl Brandt, his eyes locked onto mine—boring into me with such deep, evil intensity that I shuddered with a chill that went down my spine and froze me to my seat" - but it amply fulfils Spitz's "hope that this record will not be forgotten by history."

She quotes Martin Niemöller (a somewhat problematic figure):
In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
This is a powerful, horrifying book and not one for the weak of stomach.

Rating: 9/10.

If you liked this... the introduction to this book was written by Elie Wiesel, and reminded me that I have put off reading Night for too long.

Night (Oprah's Book Club)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

{weekend words}

The professional group that had the largest percentage of Nazi Party members was medicine.
Vivien Spitz (2004)
The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans

{Vivien Spitz was only 22 years old when she went to Germany in 1946 
as a US court reporter on the Nuremberg Trials.}

Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans

{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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