When The Devil Isn’t In The Detail

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Poor old Oscar, endlessly quoted, and not always accurately. I wonder what he would have made of the modern Twitterverse? Would he have loved dropping aphorisms onto it or would he have been horrified by its egalitarianism? I really enjoyed Jon Ronson’s ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’, an exploration of modern-day online witch-hunts which could not […]

From Eyesore To Five Star

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The British Library, which separated from the British Museum to become a modern building on London’s noxious Euston Road, was hated at the time of its unveiling by the Queen in June 1998 – over 20 years after it was first approved and at £350m over budget. But now it has been awarded Grade 1 Listed […]

Trubble With Wordz

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With so many other more pressing things to worry about in the world, shouldn’t we not be more flexible about our language? After all, it wasn’t so very long ago that people had alternative spellings of their own names. It’s not written in stone, is it? Well it is, kind of, in the 42 volume […]

London’s Street Bankers

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Whenever my gran wanted ‘a flutter’ on the horses or the dogs, she sent for the man over the road who acted as the street’s banker. Every working class street had a Mr Fix-It, as well as a local woman you could visit for ‘marital advice’. The men ran book, bought and sold, lent money, […]

London Tough

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It’s said that if a girl can look good in London, she can look good anywhere. Everything conspires against her. We have the hardest water I’ve found anywhere in the world. It silts pipes and cracks skin. We have key hotspots of overcrowding (tip: avoid the Piccadilly Line between Russell Square and Piccadilly during rush […]

Does Geography Affect Creativity?

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Readers have noticed that there’s an awful lot of rain in my mystery novels. That’s because they’re set in London, which – although drier now than ever before – is still a city of dark skies. I’m noticing a distinct correlation between my output and the weather, and not in the way you’d expect. Working […]

Favourite Soundtracks No. 3: ‘Wait Until Dark’

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When it comes to scoring music for horror films and psychological thrillers, it’s astonishing how many composers choose drums and blasts of dense orchestral noise to beat their audiences into submission when something softer and eerier would be more insidious. Henry Mancini, best known for romantic ongs and the kind of lounge music that’s now […]

Bryant & May Move Into Twisted Territory

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I’ve now delivered two new Bryant & May books; the first is for the Christmas season, and is entitled ‘Bryant & May: London’s Glory’. It will be out on November the 5th, and will be a collection of eleven missing cases, along with various oddities, background history, an essay on Golden Age detectives and the […]

Odd Films From Mainstream Directors

John Mills in the film adaptation of Oh, What a Lovely War!

Graham Greene used to divide his novels into ‘entertainments’ and serious books, and the entertainments were better. Sir Arthur Sullivan spent his life worrying about being more serious, and when he finally wrote ‘Ivanhoe’, his serious opera, it was a horrible flop, and he remained best-known for his work with Gilbert. When creators aim for […]

The Greek Debt Explained

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 It is a slow day in a little Greek Village. The rain is beating  down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling […]