Books

Crazy nannies and missing children: the latest crime fiction reviewed

7 September 2019 9:00 am

Madeline Stevens’s debut thriller, Devotion (Faber, £12.99), might more appropriately have been titled ‘Desire’. It’s a riff on that old…

The elegance and humour of Neville Cardus

7 September 2019 9:00 am

As a fully paid-up, old-school cricket tragic, I astound myself that I have read almost no Neville Cardus. How can…

In praise of Thomas Graham, unsung hero of the Peninsular War

7 September 2019 9:00 am

Why does a man join the army? The answer was probably more obvious in the 18th century than now, but…

It takes a former drug dealer to explain the global narcotics scene

7 September 2019 9:00 am

In the early 2000s, Yekaterinburg was in the grip of a major heroin problem. For Yevgeny Roizman, ‘Russia’s vigilante king’,…

The Dambusters raid was great theatre — but almost entirely pointless

7 September 2019 9:00 am

The great bomber pilot Guy Gibson had a black labrador with a racist name. This shouldn’t matter, except Gibson loved…

Carry on up the Zambezi

7 September 2019 9:00 am

I loved this book so much I was appalled. Why, when bookshops are stacked full of memoirs by authors who…

Did Christianity make the western mind — or was it the other way round?

31 August 2019 9:00 am

As Christianity became more organised and hierarchical, it grew increasingly hostile to both mysticism and empirical science, says Jonathan Sumption

Released by Decca in 1966, Tom Jones’s third album was changed for the US market, as the nuclear explosion on the cover was considered too alarming

When Decca records were part of everyday life

31 August 2019 9:00 am

In 1929 in America, Dashiell Hammett published his debut hardboiled novel Red Harvest, over in Paris Buñuel and Dalí began…

Shot of a focused young man cleaning the surface of a table with cleaning equipment at home during the day

Taking pride in household chores really can ease depression

31 August 2019 9:00 am

There are many books about what it’s like to live with mental illness and the aftermath of child sexual abuse.…

Niall Griffiths. Credit: Toril Brancher

Something in the air: Broken Ghost, by Niall Griffiths, reviewed

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Broken Ghost begins in the aftermath of a rave on the shores of a mountain lake above Aberystwyth, with three…

Sympathy for literature’s least heroic characters

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Whether we see the primary cause as being postmodernism (for decades we’ve been told that our master narratives no longer…

General de Gaulle says ‘Non’. Credit: Getty Images

When the Grand Design met ‘le Grand Non’: Britain in the early 1960s

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Peter Hennessy is a national treasure. He is driven by a romantic, almost sensual, fascination with British history, culture, and…

Georges Simenon, photographed in the Navigli district of Milan in the 1950s

If only Georges Simenon had been a bit more like Maigret

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Ian Thomson pays tribute to Maigret’s creator on the 30th anniversary of his death

George Orwell. Credit: Getty Images

Novel explosives of the Cold War

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Humour, satire, drama and poetry proved explosive weapons in the fight against Stalinism, says Nicholas Shakespeare

A Rohingya woman in an IDP camp in 2012

We should all share the blame for the Rohingya tragedy

24 August 2019 9:00 am

My local shop in Yangon was owned by a retired army officer and his wife and guarded by their handsome…

Credit: Getty Images

From bitter loss to sweet relief: baking as therapy

24 August 2019 9:00 am

This is a gentle, lovely book. It will, I’m sure, appeal to many an aspiring cook and baker, and should…

Henry Tilney, a younger son and beneficed clergyman, defies his father in a scene from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey

A single man of no fortune must be in want of a job: younger sons in Jane Austen’s England

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Readers of Jane Austen gain a clear idea of the task facing the daughters of gentlemen. They need to secure…

: Church of St Mary the Virgin, Brent Pelham — Christopher Hadley’s Hertfordshire village

Spicing up local history —with a giant, a dragon and an ancient yew

24 August 2019 9:00 am

How interesting is local history? The history of my Cotswold village — recently celebrating the centenary of the Armistice with…

Lara Maiklem mudlarking.

The treasures to be found mudlarking by the Thames

24 August 2019 9:00 am

The 1950 B-film The Mudlark tells of an urchin who ekes out an unpleasant existence scavenging the slimy Thames foreshore.…

Alistair Moffat imagines St Cuthbert’s death, in the bleak midwinter, on a lonely, inhospitable island

Can’t anyone travel for fun any more?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

There was a time when travel writers would set off with a spring in their step: Coleridge knocking the bristles…

Deborah Levy

A hazardous crossing: The Man Who Saw Everything, by Deborah Levy, reviewed

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Serious readers and serious writers have a contract with each other,’ Deborah Levy once wrote. ‘We live through the same…

Migration in Europe is the ripple effect of the second world war

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Waves of migration in Europe are nothing new. The continent has been on the move since 1945, says Kapka Kassabova

Popular medical non-fiction will soon have covered every human body part

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Nobody warns you when you start medical school that your career decisions have only just begun. Up to a decade…

Pity poor Candace Bushnell, still flogging Sex and the City at 60

17 August 2019 9:00 am

On paper, Candace Bushnell and the medieval warlord El Cid don’t have a lot in common. The first made a…

A novel take on the Western: Inland, by Téa Obreht, reviewed

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Téa Obreht’s second novel is an expansive and ambitious subversion of Western tropes, set in fin de siècle America. We…