Margery Allingham

Invisible Ink 2: Margery Allingham

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Margery Allingham   I thought carefully about including Margery Allingham in my list of forgotten authors, so let’s address the problem right at the start. She’s hardly ever out of print, and many readers know her name even if they haven’t read her. However, very few of them have really got to grips with her […]

There Really Was A Golden Age Of Murder

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As some of you know, I write a weekly column for the Independent on Sunday called ‘Invisible Ink’, about once massively popular authors who have now become a minority taste or who have vanished altogether. I thought carefully about including Margery Allingham in the column. She’s hardly ever out of print, and readers certainly know her […]

Books I Fight To Finish

Girl

Writers are not supposed to name the books they don’t like; it’s an unwritten law, as if by doing so we’ll somehow damage the trade. All writers have flaws and quirks; it’s what makes them individual and interesting, and is why instructional books like Joseph Campbell’s ‘The Hero’s Journey’ cannot be applied to the letter, […]

Crime Collectives: Why ‘Killer Men’ Wouldn’t Work

Killer Women

Crime fiction accounts for a third of all UK fiction sold, and the majority of its readers are women. As the crime festival season gets into gear this weekend, starting with Bristol Crimefest, a new collective of crime writers has formed called Killer Women. A vast swathe of novels fall into the mid-list category, where […]

How We Sound (And Why It’s Funny)

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A good actor can make an ordinary line sound better than it reads. Years ago, I worked with Kenneth Williams, who kindly sat with me for a while to discuss how to get the best out of words. He was meticulous about the crafting of sentences and where to place intonations, but it clearly came […]

London: City of Dank

The new building in my street has already turned green. Moss covers the stonework, and hardy, invasive Buddleia bushes are once more sprouting from drain-fed brickwork. There’s no getting away from it; apart from a few bright spring days and a few corresponding crisp ones in the autumn, London is dank. The morning mists rise, […]