The West End Front, By Matthew Sweet


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As the MP and diarist Chips Channon noted, "Ritzes always thrive in wartime."

With a cast that ranges from a "one-man crime wave" to William "Steam Kettle Bill" Webb, this book recounts with relish the good war enjoyed by a fortunate few in London's posh hotels. Sweet's impressive research is lavished on such unworthy figures as Paddy Brodie, "who once mistook the Ritz Bar for a row of urinals", and the shifty Albanian monarch who prompts a glorious photo caption "The Zogs check into the Ritz", but the result is a most entertaining addition to war literature.