The 22nd Earl of Erroll, Military Secretary in Kenya in the early part of the second world war, was described by two of his fellow peers of the realm as ‘a stoat — one of the great pouncers of all time’ and ‘a dreadful shit who really needed killing’.
Art fraudsters, especially forgers, have a popular appeal akin to Robin Hood.
In times of anxiety or confusion the most effective palliative is a good detective story. The requirement is that a sense of justice be restored, and, paradoxically, given the fictional events portrayed, a much desired sense of order. The effect is transitory but reliable.
Before the revolución of 1959, Havana was, effectively, a mafia fleshpot and colony of Las Vegas.
The title of Jon McGregor’s third novel derives from an anecdote told by one of the many vivid, dispossessed characters whose voices burst from its pages: Steve is a homeless ex-soldier who agrees to help deliver a lorry-load of aid to a Bosnian town, but is turned back on the grounds that ‘even the dogs’ there are dead.
On 11 November 1743, the most sensational trial of the 18th century opened in the Four Courts in Dublin.
I know a British couple with a Chinese daugh- ter, pretty and fluent in English.
In little more than a decade, the cosy world of Anglo-American crime fiction has been transformed by wave after wave of Scandinavian invaders.
Blue Lightning (Macmillan, £16.99) is the fourth novel in Ann Cleeves’ excellent Shetland quartet.
Fever of the Bone (Little, Brown, £18.99) is the sixth novel in Val McDermid’s Jordan and Hill series.
Years ago the late ‘Brookie’ Warwick, 8th Earl, asked me to ghost his memoirs.
In this diverting, well-written history of deceitful and counterfeit literature through the ages, Telling Tales, Melissa Katsoulis chronicles a variety of fraudsters and fibsters, and their motives for hoodwinking the public.
For a crime writer, success comes with its dark side.
Just in case you hadn’t guessed after nearly 1,800 pages of the ‘Millennium’ trilogy, the late Stieg Larsson has his alter-ego hero Mikel Blomkvist spell it out.
Old detectives rarely die — or age, for that matter: Poirot is forever 60, Sherlock Holmes 50, P. D. James’s Adam Dalgliesh a handsome 38 or so.
Inside British Intelligence: 100 Years of MI5 and MI6, by Gordon Thomas
The Oxford Despoiler, by Gary Dexter
Twisted Wing, by Ruth Newman
Windows on the Moon, by Alan Brownjohn
The Ignorance of Blood (Harper Collins, £17.99) is the fourth of Robert Wilson’s novels to feature Inspector Javier Falcon of Seville, and it completes a planned quartet examining some of the demons, old and new, plaguing modern Spain.
The Chalk Circle Man, by Fred Vargas, translated
Andrew Taylor reviews a selection of recent crime novels
And Then There Was No One, by Gilbert Adair
Israel Rank, by Roy Horniman
The Folio Book of Historical Mysteries, edited by Ian Pindar
When does a novel stop being a novel and become a crime story? It’s often assumed that there is an unbridgeable gap between them, but that’s not necessarily so.