Books

Butcher in the Rye

14 February 2004 12:00 am

In 1743 John Breads, a butcher, stabbed to death Allen Grebell in the declining Cinque port town of Rye on…

An early search for WMD

7 February 2004 12:00 am

Any author who subtitles his book ‘The true story of …’ this, that or the other inspires some disquiet in…

High jinks and slaughter

7 February 2004 12:00 am

Whatever else may be said of Guy Vanderhaeghe, author of The English Boy, he does at least have one serious…

Composing for dear life

7 February 2004 12:00 am

Ever since the posthumous publication in 1979 of Testimony, his volume of memoirs, ‘as related to and edited by Solmon…

Snapshots of the city

7 February 2004 12:00 am

Six CDs, 75 minutes eachwww.csaword.co.uk Lying stock-still with a bandage over your eyes for several weeks has its bonuses. In…

A love of God and the ballet

7 February 2004 12:00 am

There was a time when the Catholic party of the Church of England was not consumed by the latest ecclesiastical…

A heist too far

7 February 2004 12:00 am

When I first met Terry Smith ten years ago, in the library of Long Lartin top security prison in Worcestershire,…

Fated and enchanted love

7 February 2004 12:00 am

Wagner’s masterpiece, Tristan, has now a considerable literature of its own, with books devoted to its harmonic structure, its baleful…

A ghastly crew

7 February 2004 12:00 am

In September 1519 the Armada de Molucca of five ships and 250 sailors had set out from San L

The sleep of reason

31 January 2004 12:00 am

Like Francis Wheen’s other books, this one ends in a deliriously funny index, which is worth the cover price on…

Hide and seek

31 January 2004 12:00 am

The constant command in the works of Alberto Manguel is ‘look closer’. From his terrifying novel, News from a Foreign…

Quite the most delightful clergyman

31 January 2004 12:00 am

Simon Phipps, says the cover of this slim but engaging volume, was ‘the last of his breed of Bishop’. One…

A smile, a figure, a flair

31 January 2004 12:00 am

It’s hard to find an exciting biographical subject who has not been done and on whom sufficient unpublished papers and…

Moving swiftly on . . .

31 January 2004 12:00 am

Titles that begin with the phrase A Brief History of … are no doubt written that way to connote a…

Forward to the past

31 January 2004 12:00 am

If time travel were possible, surely there’d be people from the future causing mischief in the present? Well, not necessarily:…

Pioneer in a peculiar science

31 January 2004 12:00 am

The first distinguished person I ever met told me that he preferred funerals to weddings. ‘Weddings,’ he said, ‘are so…

An innocent at large in dystopia

31 January 2004 12:00 am

Turgenev wrote, ‘Whatever a man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces itself to this: “Great God,…

Plumbing the depths

31 January 2004 12:00 am

The sea frightens me. It seems so cold and cruel, even when it looks warm and inviting. It was with…

The full treatment

31 January 2004 12:00 am

The Portraits of Hector Berliozby G

A very errant knight

31 January 2004 12:00 am

Nicholas Shakespeare is one of the few contemporary British novelists who successfully integrate the political with the personal in the…

Lucky to be alive?

24 January 2004 12:00 am

Oracle Night describes a nine-day episode in the life of a writer, Sidney Orr. Orr is recovering from a long…

Strutting their stuff

24 January 2004 12:00 am

H. L. Mencken once said that the function of journalism was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, but…

A prickly but noble nation

24 January 2004 12:00 am

To my mind one of the relatively few happy circumstances of our time, as we grope into the 21st century,…

Fair as a star, when only one is shining in the sky

24 January 2004 12:00 am

The engagement diary of Anne Thackeray Ritchie (1837-1919) reads like a Victorian Who’s Who. Dickens, Trollope, Browning, George Eliot and…

The woman in black

24 January 2004 12:00 am

Catherine de Medici was, quite literally, the original black widow. After her husband, King Henri II of France, was accidentally…