Breast cancer

Surprise package: Tackle!, by Jilly Cooper, reviewed

Jilly Cooper, queen of the British bonkbuster, has turned her attention to football for her 18th novel. She was inspired after sitting next to Sir Alex Ferguson at lunch one day. She also thanks Kenny Dalglish, Alan Curbishley and ‘my wonderful neighbour’ Tony Adams in her acknowledgements. Her friend, the former home secretary Michael Howard, even took her to a Liverpool match, where she met Steven Gerrard.  Her legions of fans need not worry, however. We are still in Rutshire, the village Cooper created for her earlier novels; Rupert Campbell-Black, the hero of Riders, Rivals and Mount!, who was allegedly partly modelled on Andrew Parker Bowles, still lives in Penscombe

Laughing in the face of cancer

A much cited statistic of the modern era reminds us time and again that at some point in our lives one in two of us will get cancer. So routinely is this doled out that its repetition must surely have dulled the threat somewhat – until, of course, we become the one in the two. When chemotherapy leads to virulent mouth ulcers, Patterson reaches for onomatopoeia: ‘Aieeoo’ In 2019, this statistic took on new emphasis for Sylvia Patterson. Then a 54-year-old pop music journalist clinging on for dear life in an industry going the way of the dodo, she discovered a curious leakage around her right nipple. Doctors confirmed Google’s