For 24 years Andro Linklater, who died aged 68 on 3 November, reviewed books in these pages. Always an enthusiast, with wide sympathies and of genial disposition, he wanted others to share his pleasures, so that, while he could spot a dud author as well as anyone, he much preferred to dwell on the positive side, in literature as in life.
As the youngest of the four children of the novelist Eric Linklater, Andro might seem to have been born to a life of letters. His father, though, never subscribed to the sensitive school of paternity. ‘Reprimand was unstinted,’ remembered Andro’s sister Alison (‘Sally’). ‘My father never lifted a finger to punish us physically, but his tongue was formidable. His favourite threat was “I’ll beat you to within an inch of your life!” and when he was really angry this became “I’ll beat you to an inch of your life with rusty barbed wire.