Dark Satanic thrills

4 September 2010 12:00 am

If you have not yet gone on holiday, do pack The Anatomy of Ghosts. It is excellent airport reading; and this is no trivial recommendation.


Fearful symmetry

21 August 2010 12:00 am

Kate Atkinson’s latest novel is the fourth in her series about Jackson Brodie, the ex-soldier, ex-police officer and ex-husband who now works in a desultory way as a private investigator.

A choice of first novels

7 August 2010 12:00 am

Write what you know. Isn’t that what aspiring novelists are told?


Good at bad guys

7 August 2010 12:00 am

Thriller writers, like wolves and old Etonians, hunt in packs.

King and his killer

7 July 2010 12:00 am

In the late days of the Bush administration, it was fashionable among liberals to call George W. Bush the ‘worst’ president since the founding of the republic and to suggest that under his leadership America experienced its own version of the Dark Ages.


In and out of every dive

23 June 2010 12:00 am

Robert Coover’s Noir is a graphic novel.


Out for blood

16 June 2010 12:00 am

Unless you have spent the last couple of years packed in soil on a boat bound for Whitby, you will have noticed that vampires are back in fashion.


The loss of innocents

16 June 2010 12:00 am

Here are two novels about that most harrowing and haunting of subjects — children who go missing.


Cherchez la femme

12 May 2010 12:00 am

The 22nd Earl of Erroll, Military Secretary in Kenya in the early part of the second world war, was described by two of his fellow peers of the realm as ‘a stoat — one of the great pouncers of all time’ and ‘a dreadful shit who really needed killing’.


Red faces in the galleries

21 April 2010 12:00 am

Art fraudsters, especially forgers, have a popular appeal akin to Robin Hood.


Missing link

31 March 2010 12:00 am

In times of anxiety or confusion the most effective palliative is a good detective story. The requirement is that a sense of justice be restored, and, paradoxically, given the fictional events portrayed, a much desired sense of order. The effect is transitory but reliable.


Exotic Cuban underworld

17 March 2010 12:00 am

Before the revolución of 1959, Havana was, effectively, a mafia fleshpot and colony of Las Vegas.


Street eloquence

10 March 2010 12:00 am

The title of Jon McGregor’s third novel derives from an anecdote told by one of the many vivid, dispossessed characters whose voices burst from its pages: Steve is a homeless ex-soldier who agrees to help deliver a lorry-load of aid to a Bosnian town, but is turned back on the grounds that ‘even the dogs’ there are dead.


The greatest rogue in Europe

24 February 2010 12:00 am

On 11 November 1743, the most sensational trial of the 18th century opened in the Four Courts in Dublin.


Throw it in a stream

24 February 2010 12:00 am

I know a British couple with a Chinese daugh- ter, pretty and fluent in English.


From gloom to dispair

17 February 2010 12:00 am

In little more than a decade, the cosy world of Anglo-American crime fiction has been transformed by wave after wave of Scandinavian invaders.

Recent crime novels

27 January 2010 12:00 am

Blue Lightning (Macmillan, £16.99) is the fourth novel in Ann Cleeves’ excellent Shetland quartet.

Recent crime novels

25 November 2009 12:00 am

Fever of the Bone (Little, Brown, £18.99) is the sixth novel in Val McDermid’s Jordan and Hill series.

Adored friends

25 November 2009 12:00 am

Years ago the late ‘Brookie’ Warwick, 8th Earl, asked me to ghost his memoirs.

Reader, beware

11 November 2009 12:00 am

In this diverting, well-written history of deceitful and counterfeit literature through the ages, Telling Tales, Melissa Katsoulis chronicles a variety of fraudsters and fibsters, and their motives for hoodwinking the public.

New departures

14 October 2009 12:00 am

For a crime writer, success comes with its dark side.

Good women and bad men

7 October 2009 12:00 am

Just in case you hadn’t guessed after nearly 1,800 pages of the ‘Millennium’ trilogy, the late Stieg Larsson has his alter-ego hero Mikel Blomkvist spell it out.

A dogged foe

7 October 2009 12:00 am

Old detectives rarely die — or age, for that matter: Poirot is forever 60, Sherlock Holmes 50, P. D. James’s Adam Dalgliesh a handsome 38 or so. 

At sixes and fives

13 May 2009 12:00 am

Inside British Intelligence: 100 Years of MI5 and MI6, by Gordon Thomas

Fatal attractions

29 April 2009 12:00 am

The Oxford Despoiler, by Gary Dexter
Twisted Wing, by Ruth Newman
Windows on the Moon, by Alan Brownjohn