Great Novels Set In WWII

It took a very clear-eyed and unsentimental author like Rex Warner to create such a perversely beautiful, horrific novel as ‘The aerodrome’. Taking a contrary position to the prevailing attitude of the time (1941), that the British Air Force pilot represented a pinnacle of pure order in a time of dark chaos, he tells the […]

On The Tip Of Your tongue: More Forgotten Authors

  It seems I may have overestimated the number of readers interested in rediscovering forgotten authors, and it’s unlikely that there’ll be a second volume, which is a shame because it was finished and all ready to go – so from time to time I’ll pop a few of the authors in here, in the […]

A Cover Is Not A Book…Part 2

It is perhaps the most imaginatively redesigned book of them all. George Orwell’s 1984 has become a symbol of surveillance and oppression that speaks out to everyone, even though it now reads very much as a reflection of its time. The US pulp cover above is probably the strangest attempt made at portraying the events […]

A Cover Is Not A Book…(Part 1)

…so open it up and take a look,’ sings Lin Manuel-Miranda, but in the hands of a good designer a cover can be a powerfully persuasive tool. In a modern bookshop with limited space covers must communicate a lot to browsers, and I have often been compelled to buy a book by its cover. Natasha […]

Back To Work! Here’s What’s Coming Up…

First, a few details about the book which is landing here in just three weeks’ time… ‘The Lonely Hour‘ is the biggest Bryant & May novel yet, and sees the detectives back in the present day after the sixties romp of ‘Hall of Mirrors’. In fact it picks up right where Wild Chamber ended, with […]

The Books You’ll Never Finish

The illusion of choice is particularly applicable to books because you can buy them for small change when you’re tempted by momentary fancies. They’re still the best value impulse purchase of all. Trouble is, you sometimes put your book on a shelf where it sits for years, unopened. For me it’s even worse, because writers […]

William The Conkerer

In a world where everyone in media is searching for intellectual properties coming out of copyright, here’s a character who has hardly ever been away. Writers of children’s books have to tread a fine line. They need their lead characters to be interesting and a little wayward, but if they’re too wild the wrath of […]

The Bedazzling Ms Bainbridge

It’s been a long time since a book has left me in such a mess as this. I cannot shake it from my head, and feel really saddened. Although I’ve long been a fan of Beryl Bainbridge, the Liverpudlian writer whose messy, boozy life was a world apart from her brilliant, wrenching books, I had […]

The Book That Was Not To Be Touched

My parents owned a forbidden book. I could see it from where I sat in the little reading chair they’d bought me, on the top shelf of the bookcase. It was massive brick with a heavy-looking matt blue cover. The title was printed in gold and was too small to read from down here, and […]

Whatever Happened To Mr Temple?

I suspect there are a few readers out there who not only remember Francis Durbridge’s books but who can also whistle his theme tune, which was either ‘Coronation Scot’ by Vivian Ellis, or Rimski-Korsakov’s ‘Scheherezade’, depending on your age. The author and playwright was born in Hull in 1912 and died in 1998. His output […]