Books: Cover Stories

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The Independent Culture
BE AFRAID, Donald Dewar and Tony Blair, be very afraid. Pat Lally, the legendary ex-Lord Provost of Glasgow who replaced tenement knife-fights with cappuccini in galleries as the world's image of his city, is writing his memoirs. Lally has just survived a suspension by the Labour Party, which threw out allegations of malpractice against him. If anyone knows where Scottish Labour's bodies are buried, he does, and now he has the terrifying team of Eddie Bell (at Harper Collins) and Giles Gordon (his agent) behind him. Scary.

A TREAT for fans of William, Richmal Crompton's much-loved creation. He turns 80 this year, having made his debut in Home magazine in 1919. At the height of his 1940s popularity, he outsold even the Bible. Macmillan, Crompton's original publishers, will this summer publish a collection of Just William stories chosen by Martin Jarvis, William's "voice" on radio, on cassette. More traditional readers will delight at the republication of the first 20 William titles.

MICHAEL CRICHTON is taking a lead from Tom Clancy and is setting up his own software business. Timeline Studios, a computer-gaming outfit, will look at Crichton's books with a view to creating "quality computer games", of which Crichton is a fan. The launch will coincide with his next book, Timeline, due this autumn from Random House.

THE DINNER for the IMPAC Award, presented in Dublin to Andrew Miller for Ingenious Pain, was truly a million-dollar affair. The largesse provided by the American management consultancy was quite extraordinary, beginning with limitless champagne and canapes and concluding with Havanas by the truckload. The cigars were much appreciated by IMPAC's American guests, for Cuba's finest are illegal in the US. Lord Archer appeared as MC, and there were titters from Irish tables when he introduced "Bertie and Mrs Ahern". As everyone knows, the Irish PM long ago ditched his wife for his girlfriend.

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