Saturday, July 30, 2011

{weekend words}

Because people overeat for exactly the same reason they drink, smoke, serially fuck around or take drugs. I must be clear that I am not talking about the kind of overeating that’s just plain, cheerful greed – the kind of Rabelaisian, Falstaffian figures who treat the world as a series of sensory delights, and take full joy in their wine, bread and meat. Someone who walks away from a table – replete – shouting ‘THAT WAS SPLENDID!’, before sitting in front of a fire, drinking port and eating truffles, doesn’t have neuroses about food. They are in a consensual relationship with eating and, almost unfailingly, couldn’t care less about how it’s put an extra couple of stone on them. They tend to wear their weight well – luxuriously, like a fur coat, or a diamond sash – rather than nervously trying to hide it, or apologising for it. These people aren’t ‘fat’ – they are simply … lavish. They don’t have an eating problem – unless it’s running out of truffle oil, or finding a much-anticipated dish of razor clams sadly disappointing. No – I’m talking about those for whom the whole idea of food is not one of pleasure, but one of compulsion. For whom thoughts of food, and the effects of food, are the constant, dreary, background static to normal thought. Those who think about lunch whilst eating breakfast, and pudding as they eat crisps; who walk into the kitchen in a state bordering on panic, and breathlessly eat slice after slice of bread and butter – not tasting it, not even chewing – until the panic can be drowned in an almost meditative routine of spooning and swallowing, spooning and swallowing. In this trance-like state, you can find a welcome, temporary relief from thinking for ten, 20 minutes at a time, until, finally, a new set of sensations – physical discomfort, and immense regret – make you stop, in the same way you finally pass out on whisky, or dope. Overeating, or comfort eating, is the cheap, meek option for self-satisfaction, and self-obliteration. You get all the temporary release of drinking, fucking or taking drugs, but without – and I think this is the important bit – ever being left in a state where you can’t remain responsible and cogent. In a nutshell, then, by choosing food as your drug – sugar highs, or the deep, soporific calm of carbs, the Valium of the working classes – you can still make the packed lunches, do the school run, look after the baby, pop in on your mum and then stay up all night with an ill five-year-old – something that is not an option if you’re caning off a gigantic bag of skunk, or regularly climbing into the cupboard under the stairs and knocking back quarts of Scotch. Overeating is the addiction of choice of carers, and that’s why it’s come to be regarded as the lowest-ranking of all the addictions. It’s a way of fucking yourself up whilst still remaining fully functional, because you have to. Fat people aren’t indulging in the ‘luxury’ of their addiction making them useless, chaotic or a burden. Instead, they are slowly self-destructing in a way that doesn’t inconvenience anyone. And that’s why it’s so often a woman’s addiction of choice. All the quietly eating mums. All the KitKats in office drawers. All the unhappy moments, late at night, caught only in the fridge-light.

Caitlin Moran (2011)

How to be a Woman 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

{review} downing & cantrell & 1930s' berlin

David Downing Zoo Station (2007)
Rebecca Cantrell A Trace of Smoke (2009)

Zoo Station A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel Novels)

These books are a natural match for a review: both are set in Berlin in the 1930s; both feature journalist protagonists; both deal with the moral ambiguities involved in trying to survive - and save one's loved ones - under the Nazi regime; both have a really solid 'feel' for the physical environment of the city; and both are the first books in their projected series.

John Russell is the journalist 'hero' of Zoo Station (the books in the series take their names from Berlin train/U-Bahn stations). It is 1939 and it is becoming increasingly difficult for foreign journalists to remain in Germany, let alone to report with any degree of freedom. Russell has other problems - he is English but he is tied to Berlin by the presence of his son (who now lives in the city with his German mother and stepfather) and his lover Effi, an actress. His life is about to become even more complex as he is recruited by the Russians to turn his hand to a spot of propaganda that soon segues into espionage. Simultaneously he is trying to help a Jewish family escape persecution and investigate what hot story had led to the brutal murder of an American journalist colleague. And then his own countrymen attempt to get in on the act… Russell's Berlin is gritty, brutal and resonant with veristic historical detail. His characters come memorably to life and there are many satisfactory twists and turns, and plenty of tension and menace. This was a very good example of this genre.

Downing's interest in the fate of children in Nazi Germany forms a link with Rebecca Cantrell's A Trace of Smoke. Her protagonist is a German, Hannah Vogel. Vogel has been living a miserable and impoverished life since the end of the First World War, in which she lost her fiancé. It is now 1931 and things remain grim for Hannah and the people of Berlin. The Depression has brought terrible hardship and suffering and the rise of the Nazi party is beginning to curtail personal freedoms. This is especially true for a woman who is perceived to be taking a man's job (under a male pseudonym she is the crime reporter for the Berliner Tageblatt) and not conforming to a womanly stereotype. On a trip to the police station for a story she is confronted with a photo of her brother in the Hall of the Unnamed Dead, and the shallow control that she has on her world begins to unravel. Her brother Ernst was a cross-dressing homosexual nightclub performer and it seems that he may have been mixed up with a prominent National Socialist (this is, obviously, before the great purges against homosexuals from 1933). And who is Anton, the underfed street urchin who appears on Hannah's doorstep, claiming that she is his mother and 'Ernst' his father? Cantrell is good at dropping tantalising little historical clues in her narrative that might alert the historically cued-up reader to what is going on here. She is also good on recreating the atmosphere of the Berlin nightclubs and stores of the era.
I glanced out the window at the automobiles passing us. It felt strange to be in an automobile. Decadent.
"You shouldn't buy from the Jews," Wilhelm said. "Not when so many German storekeepers are going hungry."
"And what of the Jewish ones? Do they not need to eat?"
"They will find a way," Wilhelm said. "They always do."
"Are you a warrior?" Anton asked. His grip on my hand loosened.
"Yes," Wilhelm answered with a smile.
"No," I said at the same moment.
"I wear a uniform," Wilhelm explained, ignoring me. "And I am part of a unit. We are trying to restore Germany to greatness."
"Regardless of the cost." I pulled Anton closer to my side.
"There is always a cost."
My marker of quality with books set in this era is how they match up against what I consider to be the be-all and end-all of the genre, Philip Kerr's 'Bernie Gunther' novels. And? Both of these 'first' novels are very good. I will definitely continue the Downing 'Station' series but personal taste will probably not lead me any further with Cantrell's series. This is not a comment on the quality of her book in any sense, as I found her story-line fascinating and her evocation of the era really fine (her writing is on occasion a little stilted - an effect, I think, of her preference for short sentences). I just couldn't warm to her precociously lovable child mini-hero who, I note, appears in the next book. That's just child-loathing old me, though.

Rating: Downing 8/10; Cantrell 6/10.

If you liked this… you MUST READ PHILIP KERR. Genius. Start with the Berlin Noir trilogy or you'll be completely lost later. I've got the next two Downings lined up, Silesian Station and Stettin Station.

Berlin Noir: March Violets; The Pale Criminal; A German Requiem 

Silesian Station    Stettin Station

Monday, July 25, 2011

{review} paris in july: chéri

This is a post for Paris in July, hosted by BookBath and Thyme for Tea.

Colette Chéri (1920)
At the age of forty-nine, Léonie Vallon, called Léa de Lonval, was nearing the end of a successful career as a richly kept courtesan. She was a good creature, and life had spared her the more flattering catastrophes and exalted sufferings. She made a secret of the date of her birth; but willingly admitted – with a look of voluptuous condescension for Chéri’s special benefit – that she was approaching the age when she could indulge in a few creature comforts. She liked order, fine linen, wines in their prime, and carefully planned meals at home. From an idolized young blonde she had become a rich middle-aged demi-mondaine without ever attracting any outrageous publicity.

The year is 1912. Come wallow in luxury and a rather gentle form of vice with Colette's Chéri. Chéri is the young lover of the ageing courtesan Léa; not, of course, that she has allowed herself to age (note to self: rose-silk walls are very flattering to the complexion). But, after six years, a crisis looms: Chéri is to marry, and Léa must face starting over:
‘It serves me right. At my age, one can’t afford to keep a lover six years. Six years! He has ruined all that was left of me. Those six years might have given me two or three quite pleasant little happinesses, instead of one profound regret. A liaison of six years is like following your husband out to the colonies: when you get back again nobody recognizes you and you’ve forgotten how to dress.’
She finds, too, that she loved her young man; and at 49 is she - gasp! - too old to start again, after a vampiric "thirty years devoted to radiant youths and fragile adolescents"?

Chéri (a.k.a. Fred) is a quite unsympathetic character, for all his beauty: he is odiously spoiled by his doting mama (a former showgirl and colleague of Léa: "Chéri had enjoyed the full freedom of a profligate upbringing"); is abundantly aware of his good looks; has a bad temper and no sense of humour.
Every now and again a fleeting glimpse in a glass would remind him that he was wearing a becoming felt hat, pulled down over the right eye, a loose-fitting spring coat, large light-coloured gloves, and a terra-cotta tie. The eyes of women followed his progress with silent homage, the more candid among them bestowing that passing stupefaction which can be neither feigned nor hidden. But Chéri never looked at women in the street. He had just come from his house in the Avenue Henri-Martin, having left various orders with the upholsterers: orders contradicting one another, but thrown out in a tone of authority.
But he too finds that his life is empty without Léa and he is stung by a rare jealousy that she may have moved on to another man without a thought for him. His wife Edmée is in for a bad time, especially given his taste in interior decorating:
‘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.
Chéri is predominantly set in Paris. Certainly the funniest scenes - between the spiteful ageing courtesans - occur there.
They had known each other for twenty-five years. Theirs was the hostile intimacy of light women, enriched and then cast aside by one man, ruined by another: the tetchy affection of rivals stalking one another’s first wrinkle or white hair. Theirs was the friendship of two practical women of the world, both adepts at the money game; but one of them a miser, and the other a sybarite. These bonds count. Rather late in their day, a stronger bond had come to link them more closely: Chéri.
Chéri's mother delivers some of the most wonderfully snappy digs at her son's mother-in-law and at Léa herself (especially at Léa's continued good looks). As she says to Léa:
'Heavens, how good you smell. Have you noticed that as the skin gets less firm, the scent sinks in better and lasts much longer? It’s really very nice.'
An admirable character with a strong sense of fair play, Léa is growing old gracefully as well as disgracefully; not for her the slatternly habits of her former colleagues:
Their unbuttoned siestas disgusted her. Never once had her young lover caught her untidily dressed, or with her blouse undone, or in her bedroom slippers during the day. 'Naked, if need be,' she would say, 'but squalid, never!'
This is another wonderful book from Colette - so beautiful and witty with wonderful descriptions of lush and opulent Parisian scenes and no nasty moral messages to spoil this gentle dip into a world of such gorgeous depravity. I loved it.

Rating: 10/10.

If you liked this... I'm going to read the other Chéri book, The Last of Chéri. Both are available on Kindle for Australia - yippee!

Cheri and Last of Cheri

Saturday, July 23, 2011

{weekend words}

Consoling and yet absurd, how the sexual imagination took such easy possession of the ungiving world. I was certainly not alone in this carriage in sliding my thoughts between the legs of other passengers. Desires, brutal or tender, silent but evolved, were in the shiftless air, and hung about each jaded traveller, whose life was not as good as it might have been.
Alan Hollinghurst (1988)

The Swimming-Pool Library

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I'm so far behind with the 
Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series 
but I think I'll have to squeeze this one in.
(shelf love has a great summing-up)

Beekeeping for Beginners (Short Story)

Laurie R. King (2011)

It's only about $2 for Kindle.

Monday, July 18, 2011

{review} paris in july: americans in paris

This is a post for Paris in July, hosted by BookBath and Thyme for Tea.

This book is doubly relevant to Paris for me, since I bought it in 2010 in the W.H. Smith bookshop on Rue de Rivoli as I was on my way to Angelina for a(nother) Mont Blanc and a hot chocolate. It was pouring with rain that day, so I ducked inside W.H. Smith to check out the books before continuing to Paradise Angelina.

Too greedy to take a before shot. Angelina's Mont Blanc
Strictly speaking this may not have been the one consumed on the visit above, 
since I am a bit of a Mont Blanc slut.

Now I'm going to find it impossible to find a sensitive segue from my stuffing my face with cream cakes to the plight of the citizens of Paris during the Second World War.

Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation 1940-44

In Americans in Paris, Charles Glass provides a very readable account of what happened to the American citizens who were in Paris during the fall of France and her subsequent occupation. Book-loving Francophiles will know one of these Americans very well, I imagine - Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare & Co. - but many of the other figures in this book were quite unknown to this reader. As France fell, some were fortunate enough to escape the country; others were not so lucky; and there were also the courageous (or foolhardy) who were determined to stay regardless of the consequences. This was doubly problematical if they were Jewish or black Americans. Until America entered the war, those who remained were not in any great danger unless they actively conspired against the occupiers, but they certainly shared the privations of their Parisian neighbours. After America became involved in the conflict, their situation was dire and they suffered internship or worse.

Glass has selected an interesting cross-section of people to recreate life in occupied Paris: a diplomat with intelligence connections (Robert Murphy), the bookseller Sylvia Beach, a doctor (Dr Sumner Jackson), a black veteran of the First World War American voluntary air squadron the Lafayette Escadrille (Eugene Bullard), a countess born in Ohio (Clara Longworth de Chambrun) and - certainly the most intriguing figure for Glass - the elusive millionaire Charles Bedaux.

America had a strong presence in Paris before the war, and two institutions in particular dominate Glass' narrative - the American Library in Paris and the American Hospital of Paris (at Neuilly). When America came into the war these institutions could have been taken over lock, stock and barrel by the Germans but both were saved by the extraordinary efforts of a small group of patriots. The Library was kept going by the Countess de Chambrun, who had been born plain (but rich) Clara Longworth in Ohio. The Hospital - by a strange twist of fate - fell to her French husband, General de Chambrun's care. The de Chambrun's war was a politically tricky one: their son René had married Josée Laval, the daughter of Pierre Laval who was twice head of the Vichy government

Dr Sumner Jackson with his son Philip (c1930): source

General de Chambrun oversaw the administrative survival of the American Hospital. It was Dr Sumner Jackson who attempted to maintain medical standards, something he managed while simultaneously actively assisting the French Resistance to smuggle downed Allied airmen out of occupied France with the assistance of his French wife and young son. 

Charles Bedaux occupies a very large part of Glass' narrative (indeed, I sometimes thought that this book may have originally been intended to be solely about his immensely complex war). Bedaux was born in Paris but emigrated to the US in his twenties, becoming an American citizen. He was a self-made millionaire thanks to his time management business which consulted with big industrial firms to improve worker productivity. Bedaux moved back to France and is best known in the 1930s for hosting the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at his French chateau. As Glass demonstrates, Bedaux is a very tricky figure to pin down. In the interests of business he may have made some dodgy deals with Vichy and the Germans, and his behaviour raised flags with the American intelligence community: when an opportunity presented he was arrested in North Africa and clandestinely transported back to America to face a treason charge.

The fates of Glass' subjects were not, in general, good: Sylvia Beach survived internment and privation but her already shaky health was broken by her ordeals. The de Chambrun's post-war life was clouded by their links with Pierre Laval. Bedaux committed suicide in Miami before there was a verdict on his case. The Jacksons were picked up by German intelligence: Mrs Jackson survived Ravensbrück concentration camp; her husband and son survived Neuengamme camp only to be bombed by the RAF on a German prison ship. Dr Jackson - an extraordinarily heroic figure - died in this raid, five days before Germany fell.

In sum? This most interesting book is a well-written, well-researched and eminently readable survey of a group of Americans who loved Paris and were prepared to pay whatever it cost to preserve her freedom.

Rating: 7/10.

If you liked this... Colette's Evening Star is a very different personal memoir of her life in Paris during this period. I have reviewed it here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

{misc.} international anita brookner day

I've written a review of Lewis Percy (here).

Here's another fan:

Roger reads Anita Brookner's Lewis Percy (July 16th 2011)

{weekend words}

Madge described all the natural development of love between men and women, when its expression passed beyond the handshake, as beastliness. It was possible, of course, to have a man pal without any slop. In moments of emotion, when he had just done something pretty super at some game, you might bang him on the back; in return, he might slap you between the shoulder blades. That was all right; that was the decent friendly expression of deeply felt emotion. There were one or two young men up at the Club whom Madge enjoyed banging on the back on somewhat slight excuses.
Stella Gibbons (1938)
Nightingale Wood

Nightingale Wood: A Novel 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

{review} injury time

D. J. Enright Injury Time: A Memoir (2003)

Injury Time: A Memoir

Injury Time was D. J. Enright's final book, a quite charming collection along the lines of that old-fashioned creature the 'commonplace book'. The title refers to the 'injury time' that is his life after his diagnosis with cancer, but also to the 'injuries' he collects in his daily reading: that is, the injuries done to his great love, the English language. 

I have previously read some of Enright's poetry and dipped into his critical works, The Alluring Problem (about irony as a 'style' in literature) and Fields of Vision (in which he gets to grips with television - and language). I also have the wonderful anthology he edited: The Oxford Book of Death. Enright had a very interesting career - a product of Cambridge in the F. R. Leavis era (but not a Leavis disciple), he spent many years in academia outside of the U.K before coming back to edit Encounter (the cultural journal founded by Stephen Spender) and serve as a director of Chatto & Windus. Enright read everything: great literature (in many languages); spam letters from Africa; brochures in the post office; Harry Potter; mail-order catalogues; pill packaging; everything - and Injury Time is his final volume of a trilogy of his thoughts on the bits and pieces that have caught his eye.

Some of the 'injuries' done to English include the dreaded 'dangling participle':
Then there is - surprisingly common - the dangling or unattached participle. Robert Burchfield cites Lord Belstead speaking of Lord Whitelaw on BBC Radio in January 1988: 'Being unique, I am not going in any way to imitate him', and Richard Ingrams in 1987 writing of the house in which he grew up: 'Now demolished, I can call it to mind in almost perfect detail.' (Lord Belstead 'did not intend to imply that he was himself unique', and 'obviously Mr Ingrams had not been demolished'.)
People look baffled should you draw their attention to a dangling participle, and slightly anxious, as though they had omitted to adjust their dress. When, stumblingly, you seek to explain matters, they grow ratty: the intention is plain enough, no one would ever suppose it meant what (or so you say, and who are you to say?) it may signify grammatically, what does grammar count for anyway?
Have just come across a splendid specimen in Barbara Skelton's Weep No More: 'Dining alone in Ajaccio, a cockroach actually ran across the plate.' That should cure us of dangling participles - if anything could.
There we can just about make out what is going on, even though, from what we know of her, Miss Skelton was less likely than a cockroach to be dining alone.
Enright also collects small witticisms that turn on language; he ranges from high to low culture without missing a beat. Goethe in one paragraph; Hollywood in the next:
It appears that Cubby Broccoli, producer of James Bond films, when asked why he continued working into his eighties, replied: 'If I didn't, I would turn into a vegetable.'
No pun is too low for Enright and this book has many very funny offerings (his passages on misplaced hyphens are wonderful). In places Enright also passes a certain stern eye over popular morality:
There used to be an expression, 'conspicuous consumption'. This has disappeared, what it represents having become normal and therefore no longer conspicuous.
He acknowledges these signs that he has become,
'Difficilis, querulus, laudator temporis acti...' It is amply attested to that old people are convinced things are getting worse all the time. On top of this predisposition, it is perfectly possible that some things are getting worse all the time. [The quotatation from Horace brilliantly encapsulates the 'grumpy old man' who praises the past]
Injury Time is also coloured, for this reader, by the knowledge that Enright was struggling to the conclusion of both this book and his life. Tucked in amidst Enright's witty didacticisms (did I invent that word?) are passages that reveal fragments of his day to day struggle with cancer - his thoughts on the NHS, on endoscopies, on young doctors (and elderly patients) and - inevitably for a man who edited The Oxford Book of Death - on The End. What is left for the man who lives to read when the terrible disease (or, ironically, its treatment) puts an end to his greatest pleasure?
Used to read the newspaper . . . Used to read the headlines in the newspaper . . . Used to read the first two or three words of the headlines . . . Have given up reading.
Rating: 8/10.

If you liked this: everyone should keep a commonplace book. Go on...

The Oxford Book of Death The Oxford Book of Friendship

Monday, July 11, 2011

{review} paris in july: apollinaire's calligrammes

This is a post for Paris in July, hosted by BookBath and Thyme for Tea.

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880 Rome - 1918 Paris) wrote the most gorgeous 'concrete' or 'visual' poems - that is, poems in which the shape or typographic setting of the poem on the page is integral to its meaning as a text.

Part of the appeal for me is that, since my 'reading' French is of a standard where I can generally bluff out the meaning, a pictogram is really helpful. That is very shallow, I know! I'm not going to say anything smart about these poems, but rather reproduce some of the loveliest. All are taken from his Calligrammes (printed posthumously in 1918). Sadly, Apollinaire died young, taken by the influenza pandemic at the end of the First World War. He is buried in Paris' Père Lachaise cemetery and has a most appropriate monument on which is carved a heart-shape made from letters which spell out Mon coeur pareil à une flamme renversée ("My heart, like an inverted/upsidedown flame"). My photo isn't great, unfortunately, but I've bleached the colour out in the second shot to show the heart a little better:

 Source: taken by me in February 2010.

This is how it appears in Calligrammes:

Here is his famous "Il Pleut" (It's raining) [source]:

I think we can recognise this one [source]:

This is 'Paysage' (there's a nice explanation here
I love the running man and the cigar): 

Apollinaire also drew some other poems in a more free form, 
including this horse and portrait [source]:

Lovely, aren't they? (Even if, like me, you only have about a third of a clue about what they mean).

{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