Au Reservoir, Lucia

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The press said ‘Geraldine McEwan, known for playing Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, has died at Charing Cross Hospital, aged 82′. There’s mention of the awards she won for the TV production of ‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit’, Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’ and Congreve’s ‘The Way Of The World’. But to me her most inhabited role […]

The London Of ‘Paddington’

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I didn’t grow up with Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear stories, and being largely immune to the appeal of sugar-rush candy-coloured ADD-afflicted children’s films, I tend to give kids’ fare a swerve. I’d also struggled with director Paul King’s previous fantastical film, ‘Bunny and the Bull’, which presented London as a cut-and-paste Blue Peter model of cardboard and […]

Mental Movie Moments 1: Snake Shake

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I thought that from time to time we’d have a peculiar bit of celluloid here, preferably something not too well-known or recently seen. To start the ball rolling I stumbled across Debra Paget seducing a very realistic cobra with her, um, charms in this extraordinary clip from Fritz Lang’s ‘The Indian Tomb’.  

Ton-Up London: The Ace Cafe

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My father loved motorbikes; the idea of ‘doing a ton’ and then stopping at the Ace Cafe was ingrained in him. The art deco cafe had opened in the thirties, was bombed in the forties and reopened in the fifties. It became the destination for anyone who loved motorbikes, a ‘Back To The Future’-style hangout […]

When Hollywood Comes Calling On British Writers

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How dumb of me – there I’ve been keeping mum for months instead of shooting my mouth off like I usually do, carefully avoiding any mention of what occurs in ‘Bryant & May 12: The Burning Man’ and what happens? I forget that the ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) have gone out this week! The cover […]

Bryant & May: The Hidden Homages

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Mystery authors can be tricksters; some of us like to hide puzzles, jokes and references inside our books – we can’t resist it. Musicians do it all the time, and I’ve been doing it for years in the Bryant & May books. The most obvious joke is the names of the detectives, which were taken […]

Things I Learned In Estonia…

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1. When to keep the kids home from school; once it officially goes below -24 degrees Centigrade. A government ruling, apparently. -23 degrees and they still have to go. While I was in Tallinn this weekend, it was mild, just -3C. Last June it snowed (admittedly for the first time in 500 years). After a […]

Southern Jessies: Try Going North!

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A grim statistic surfaced in the press this week; for every 12 new jobs created in the South, there’s 1 job lost in the North of England. This is after a much-fanfared promise of devolution to city regions which proved such a hot topic in national and local government, when chancellor George Osborne set out […]

A Writer’s Life: Nuns, Bats & A Visit To Estonia

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They say writers are planners or gardeners, ie. that they either blueprint every last detail of a novel or throw a handful of seeds at the ground to see what will grow. I’m very much the latter, but after I can see what’s coming up, judicious pruning and killing off of weak ideas leaves me […]

Re:View – ‘Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown’

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There are several model/actresses I know who have to see this – I think it’s the story of their lives. Five years ago, the stage version of Pedro Almodovar’s celebrated farce bombed horribly on Broadway, despite the superstar firepower of Patti LuPone in the lead. Everyone now admits they got it wrong, from the frenetic […]