49 Bankside: A Place In History

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It often seems to me that despite its great age, London has few old ‘ordinary’ houses; only the grand mansions survive. We want history to be about paupers and prostitutes,  or kings and crowns. What about those in the middle? The London author and historian Gillian Tindall is concerned with ordinary people, and their lives […]

If You Don’t Trust Shakespeare, Don’t Do It

Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare - Shakespeare’s Globe - 21 April 2017Director - Daniel KramerDesigner - Soutra GilmourChoreographer - Tim ClaydonLighting - Charles Balfour

Emma Rice, a fine, innovative director, became the Globe director who started the rumpus – she famously stated that Shakespeare was like medicine, and wanted to modernise a theatre most famous for being a replica of the original. It was a bad fit; she went on to direct a ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ that did indeed […]

The Disreputable W1!

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So, you’re at a grand party in a Park Lane mansion and get a bit tipsy. Seducing a beautiful woman, you tiptoe to a bedroom with her. In the morning, by way of thanks, you send her a diamond. Unfortunately it turns out to be one of the German Crown Jewels, which are not yours […]

What Publishers Get Up To Behind Closed Doors

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They hold meetings, of course – but usually they don’t include the people who drive their business, the authors. Not so Quercus, whose annual sales conference I’ve just attended at London’s Cafe de Paris – they believe in involving their authors heavily throughout the publishing process, and in doing so seem to be quietly revolutionising […]

When Movies Reflect Politics

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Are American films really any worse now than they used to be? Is the idea of ‘Transformers 7’ being nominated for an Oscar any crazier than ‘Dr Dolittle’ making the Best Picture list four decades earlier? It’s tempting to name a year and suggest that before such-and-such a point movies were better. There have been […]

A Guide To The Bryant & May Characters

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By now I assume you know quite a lot about my aged detectives Arthur Bryant & John May, and a little about their team at the Peculiar Crimes Unit, Janice Longbright, Raymond Land, Colin Bimsley, Meera Mangeshkar, Jack Renfield, Dan Banbury and Giles Kershaw. But there are many, many others who help or obstruct their […]

Choosing What To Read Next

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It’s a question I get asked a lot; how do you wade through all the book covers and titles to find something you really want to read, especially when it might possibly mean laying out cash on something you don’t enjoy? First, I set myself a book budget. I pick a subject I’d like to […]

From Bristol With Love

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I’m at Bristol Crimefest, talking with authors and publishers about books and what’s ahead. Bits of Bristol like the Christmas Steps are charming, although the city seems to have endless building works. The Crimefest writers and guests are erudite and great fun to hang out with, and there are some terrific US writers I hadn’t discovered […]

London On The Page

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I’m in Bristol at Crimefest, where I keep being asked, ‘How do you do your research?’  As I’ve explained before, much of it is from visiting places and walking around talking to shop owners, museum curators and the like, but a lot of it is also from my large collection of London books, many of […]

The Curse Of The Bucket List

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Above, some visitors to Venice got the city and the lido confused, and presumably thought the city was a beach. Meanwhile, residents of the Orkney Islands, which has a population of around 20,000, will be joined by more than 120,000 visitors this summer. The influx is putting attractions such as Skara Brae, Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic […]