Bisexuality was the Bloomsbury norm

It’s been a century since the heyday of the Bloomsbury group, and now Nino Strachey, a descendant of one of the key families, has written a superb, sparky and reflective book charting the doings of the younger members of the artistic and intellectual coterie. While it is easy to identify Old Bloomsbury – familiar names include Lytton and James Strachey, Duncan Grant, David ‘Bunny’ Garnett, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Vanessa and Clive Bell, Roger Fry, John Maynard Keynes, E.M. Forster and Desmond and Molly MacCarthy – naming the younger ‘Bloomsberries’ is a slippery task. Do we count Dora Carrington, who loved Lytton to distraction, and after his death found she

Why are crime writers so weird?

What a weird lot crime writers are. I don’t come to this conclusion lightly, since I’m a crime writer myself, but on the evidence of this magisterial but wickedly entertaining book the conclusion is inescapable. As you turn the pages, the evidence mounts up. One crime writer has been considered a serious candidate for sainthood and another has been convicted of murder. Wilkie Collins simultaneously maintained two mistresses and their children but never bothered to marry either. Mary Roberts Rinehart, an early 20th-century queen of American suspense fiction, narrowly escaped being murdered by her chef because she wouldn’t promote him to butler. Agatha Christie famously engineered her own disappearance, and

A load of oddballs: the eccentricities of past cricketing heroes

For reasons I can’t seem to remember, I have read an awful lot of cricketing histories. The dullest, by a distance, was Sir John Major’s plodding effort, a labour of love to write, I’m sure, but a real labour to read. One of the most astute was Sir Derek Birley’s magisterial A Social History of English Cricket. It apparently helps to be a knight of the realm if you wish to get your cricketing history into hard covers. Richard H. Thomas isn’t there yet — he’s an associate professor of journalism at Swansea university — but his book is so absorbing and entertaining I would be surprised if the offer