Waugh Stories


Imagine being part of a literary dynasty; the pressure to achieve must be unbearable. We automatically think of stern Catholic Evelyn Waugh as his dynasty’s prime mover, the man whose innovative satirical writing came to symbolise an era (that’s him above, looking extremely cross). But he wasn’t the only writer. Alec was the younger brother of […]

Six Letters, Starting With B


Dorothy Bowers was a crossword compiler, born in Leominster, Herefordshire in 1902. She was the daughter of a bakery owner, and after a short and not especially joyful life died at 46 from tuberculosis. At least she had the satisfaction of knowing that, on the basis of just six books, she had just been inducted […]

‘Strange Tide’ Appears In US


‘Strange Tide’ just came out in America (the books are running a little behind the UK) and the reviews have been terrific. As I’m at home with a gruesome cold, this is a great lift for me. This just came in from the New York Journal of Books; Due to the ineptness of captain and […]

The Devil Times Four


On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…four horrendously creepy volumes of short stories. Because my award-winning ‘Devil Quartet’, Personal Demons, The Devil in Me, Old Devil Moon and Demonized are about to come out as e-books! Here you’ll find out what happened to the cutlery of the Marquis de Sade, […]

Rowling VS Pullman


Yesterday Charles commented on my complaint that JK Rowling (whom we all rightly regard as A Good Thing) has in the past not been too worried about developing characters or plots, and that the books offer a full-scale retreat into happier times. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it’s nice to see a sub-plot in […]

The Christmassiest Writer

by Howard Coster, half-plate film negative, 1926

Stacy Aumonier is Christmassy without being cloying or sentimental. He’s closer to Saki in that sense. But there is something twinkling and Christmassy about Aumonier. His ‘Extremely Entertaining Short Stories’ feel as if they should be read aloud by a roaring fire. He was born near Regent’s Park into a family of craftsmen and artists […]

Some Recommended Christmas Reading Part 1


You know you’ll have a bit of spare time to yourself in the coming weeks, and it might be a good time to catch up on a book or two. Here are a few I can wholeheartedly recommend. Where do you start, though? So I’ve picked few I’ve just happened to read or reread… Crooked […]

Keep Calm & Read A Book


Okay, now that we’re all on board for the Trumpseidon Adventure (or the Towering Trumpferno, if you prefer), let’s calm down. How? By reading a good book, of course! Not the lovely ‘Lost Cases of Bryant & May’ now climbing the charts as an e-book in the US for a low, low price and available […]

Writers of the New Disillusionment

falling angel 2

I was just having a book purge, getting ready to move back into my flat later this month, when I discovered a stash of dark novels. Often with supernatural overtones, this genre experienced a mad final fling beginning in the late 1970s before being watered down into new genres, mostly involving adolescent fables of sexual […]

Chocks Away!


There are certain books your dad had on his dad shelf, and if he was anything like my father, he’ll have had a few dogeared Nevil Shutes and Eric Amblers. I was going to feature these two authors in my forthcoming book ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ from Quercus, but the editors feel that Shute […]