Books

Granny takes several trips

29 November 2003 12:00 am

Why, oh why, would a pleasant-looking, intelligent woman of 66, a retired English teacher with a grown-up son living in…

CHRISTMAS BOOKS 2

22 November 2003 12:00 am

Hugh Massingberd Surrounded by spin, mealy-mouthed political correctness and Orwellian ‘newspeak’, I longed for the absolute frankness demanded by the…

Hitler’s unbalanced Orangeman

22 November 2003 12:00 am

Lord Haw-Haw: The English Voice of Nazi Germanyby Peter MartlandThe National Archives, £19.99, pp. 308, ISBN 1903365171 Although I yield…

Their knavish tricks frustrated

22 November 2003 12:00 am

The Enterprise of England, the name given by His Most Catholic Majesty, Philip II of Spain, to the attempted overthrow…

Blood-brother and king-maker

22 November 2003 12:00 am

At a garden party in Kampala, Uganda, in 1994 I overheard Tom Stacey, a tall elegant figure, saying with some…

Talking to some purpose

22 November 2003 12:00 am

Nineteenth-century British politics used to be the historian’s bread and butter, but it has gone sadly out of fashion. Instead…

A bas la différence!

22 November 2003 12:00 am

Kathy Lette’s latest novel begins with a zany one-liner: ‘How can we win the sex war when we keep fraternising…

When believing is not all there is to seeing

22 November 2003 12:00 am

In his 100-page introduction to the Collins Guide to the Parish Churches of England and Wales (1958), John Betjeman does…

Question mark over Cuba

22 November 2003 12:00 am

In the United States several diplomats have written profound books about countries where they have been posted. For example, the…

Beta plus and beta minus

22 November 2003 12:00 am

Say ‘Rossetti’ to most people, and you will get back ‘Dante Gabriel’, or ‘Christina’, or perhaps a description of paintings…

All you need is love

22 November 2003 12:00 am

‘Cora sits at the bay window, writing, in a fat manuscript book with a lock, about a man she once…

Howard’s end reconsidered

22 November 2003 12:00 am

Minette Walters is an unusually uneven writer. Although we know she is just one person it is as though there…

How good was the Boyo?

22 November 2003 12:00 am

When Dylan Thomas first lived at the Boathouse, Laugharne (tel. Laugharne 68) there was no electricity, no running water and…

Predictable plots, familiar faces

22 November 2003 12:00 am

A Place of Hidingby Elizabeth GeorgeHodder & Stoughton, £18.99, pp. 576, ISBN 034076709X Blacklistby Sara ParetskyHamish Hamilton, £12.99, pp. 432,…

The prank that grew to giant proportions

22 November 2003 12:00 am

The story has been told dozens of times already, but never gets dull, and until the 1996 McDonald’s libel case…

CHRISTMAS BOOKS 1

15 November 2003 12:00 am

Clive James Three books of non-fictional prose kept me awake like thrillers. Frederic Raphael’s The Benefits of Doubt (Carcanet, £14.95)…

Gallery crawl with a guiding star

15 November 2003 12:00 am

In the ancien régime of John Murray (before the publishing firm was taken over by Hodder Headline) it used to…

The theatre of the globe

15 November 2003 12:00 am

Atlases are things that one takes for granted, but they have an interesting history. This book tells the story of…

A bland and baleful stoic

15 November 2003 12:00 am

‘Woke up this morning feeling fine. Notices for Lorca’s comedy, Jack’s the Lad, terrific (even from that goof on the…

Always her own woman

15 November 2003 12:00 am

The Grandmothers consists of four novellas, very different from The Golden Notebook, that sprawling, seemingly unedited, over-talkative, rather wonderful book…

It’s being so cheerful that keeps me going

15 November 2003 12:00 am

When asked why he was always so incredibly cheerful, David Niven (Stowe, Sandhurst and the Silver Screen) used to reply,…

A continuation of empire by other means

15 November 2003 12:00 am

Melvyn Bragg’s superb new history of the English language is told as an adventure story, and rightly so. Brought to…

A charming toff of the turf

15 November 2003 12:00 am

John Oaksey is the archetypal English gentleman. He is a sweetheart, a star, the bravest of the brave, funny and…

Receipts and recipes

15 November 2003 12:00 am

The Pedant in the Kitchenby Julian BarnesGuardian Books, £9.99, pp. 96, ISBN 1843542390 ‘I haven’t cooked since the War,’ proclaims…

A new breed of heroes

15 November 2003 12:00 am

When aid workers, battling in distant places to bring some kind of comfort and safety to displaced and miserable people,…