The old adage that everyone has a novel in them has a new version: anyone can write a thriller. Celebrity helps, of course, and Bill and Hillary Clinton are exemplars of the trend, though each has had the sense to draw on professional assistance and the grace to acknowledge it. Closer to home, Britain has spawned its own unexpected authors, led by Richard Osman with his astonishing successful The Thursday Murder Club.
Now Alan Johnson, the former Labour MP and cabinet minister, joins the club with The Late Train to Gipsy Hill (Headline, £16.99), his first foray into fiction. He arrives with impressive credentials, however, having published three excellent volumes of memoirs since leaving politics. Like them, this book is well written, if less affecting.