Book reviews


The unbearable vanity of Kevin Pietersen

11 October 2014 9:00 am

Pietersen’s self-indulgent tales of woe lack credibility


A date with death

2 June 2012 7:00 pm

On 8 January 1937, an old man was taking his prize songbird for an early morning walk in the eastern…

Good queen, bad subject

2 June 2012 7:00 pm

There is a paradox at the heart of all books about the Queen. The very thing which makes her such…

All the world’s a stage

2 June 2012 6:00 pm

In Translations, Brian Friel’s play about English military and cultural imperialism, the frustrated teacher Manus explains how he uses ‘the…

Monarchy’s golden future

2 June 2012 6:00 pm

In a recent issue of The Spectator Freddy Gray warned that some royal press officers now resemble celebrity publicists, spoon-feeding…


What did he see in her?

2 June 2012 6:00 pm

When King George I came over from Hanover in 1714 to claim the crown he had inherited from his distant…

Love conquers all

2 June 2012 6:00 pm

Anyone who has ever written a history book will feel a twinge of envy on reading the preface to Just…

… while others fade

26 May 2012 4:00 pm

For Watergate junkies, another raking of the old coals is irresistible. For those underage younger persons who never understood what…

Straying from the Way

26 May 2012 4:00 pm

No sensible writer wastes good material. A couple of years ago Tim Parks published a memoir, Teach Us to Sit…

Enter a Wodehousian world

26 May 2012 4:00 pm

On 26 February 1969, Roger Mortimer wrote to his son, Charlie: ‘Your mother has had flu. Her little plan to…

Intrigue and foreboding

11 February 2012 10:00 am

In 2009, Alone in Berlin, Hans Fallada’s masterpiece about civilian resistance to Nazism, appeared in English for the first time.…

A choice of first novels

4 February 2012 10:00 am

Mountains of the Moon is narrated by a woman just released after spending ten years in jail. The reason for…

Nothing on paper

10 December 2011 11:00 am

On the subject of e-readers, I suspect the world population divides neatly into two halves. On one side of the…


Books of the Year

5 November 2011 12:00 pm

Our regular reviewers were asked to name the books they’d most enjoyed reading this year. More choices next week


On His Majesty’s Silent Service

3 September 2011 12:00 am

Of all the Allied fighting service branches in which you wouldn’t have wanted to spend the second world war, probably the grimmest was submarines.

What is it about Stieg Larsson?

13 August 2011 12:00 am

How an unsuccessful Swedish journalist became a world-conquering thriller-writer

Delightfully not cricket

13 August 2011 12:00 am

A brilliant sporting satire

Deeper into Mervyn Peake

13 August 2011 12:00 am

The latest from the cult of Gormenghast

Low life and high style

13 August 2011 12:00 am

The return of Roy Kerridge

The country of criticism

13 August 2011 12:00 am

On Karl Miller's essays

A well-told lie

13 August 2011 12:00 am

Michael Ondaatje takes a journey into childhood

The scandal that inspired La Dolce Vita

13 August 2011 12:00 am

A new account of a classic Italian mystery

Heroes of the Ice Age

13 August 2011 12:00 am

Four new books on the great era of polar exploration

Recent crime fiction

23 July 2011 12:00 am

John Lawton’s Inspector Troy series constantly surprises.



16 July 2011 10:00 am

I like books with weather and there’s plenty in this one, all bad, which is even better. Set in London during a cold winter, Blue Monday (Penguin, £12.99) is the first of a new series for Nicci French, the successful husband and wife author team.