Christopher Hirst

Christopher Hirst is an award-winning food writer and freelance journalist.

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Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun; Lady Bette and the Murder of Mr Thynn by N.A.Pickford, book reviews

Two murder cases that proved a sensation in their day are expertly dissected

Gravity's Engines, By Caleb Scharf: Book review

This surprisingly gripping book from the director of Columbia University's Astrobiology Centre concerns "the most extraordinary and bizarre characteristics of nature".

The Allure of Chanel, By Paul Morand: Book review

This handsome edition will make the perfect Christmas gift for the fashionista if only for the sexy illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld.

Seen behind the Scene, By Mary Ellen Mark: Book review

These glorious black-and-white spreads from 40 years of photographing on set undermine Godard's "Photography is truth. Cinema is truth 24 times a second."

The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination, By Lamar Waldron: Book review

All but Grassy Knoll obsessives will sigh, "Not another conspiracy theory", but this epic investigation is going to be "a major motion picture" starring DiCaprio and De Niro.

Fascist Voices, By Christopher Duggan: Book review

The banality of evil, spoken in its own voice

The Mystery of Princess Louise by Lucinda Hawksley - book review

Life of a royal rebel spiced up by secrets and scandals

Books of the year 2013: Food

Are you an anarchist or an acolyte in the way you use cookbooks? Two food experts who face each other across the Atlantic have radically differing recommendations. In One Good Dish (Artisan, £17.99), David Tanis, formerly head chef of the legendary California eatery Chez Panisse and now food columnist on The New York Times, selects his everyday favourites such as Spanish garbanzo bean stew, warm potato salad with peppers and onions or mussels on the half-shell with breadcrumbs and parsley (highly recommended). "I hope you don't follow these recipes slavishly," he concludes. "Improvisation and ad-libbing make life in the kitchen much more interesting."

Paperback review: The Secret Lives of Men and Women

Described as “hilarious and heart-warming”, this is a deeply weird book based on a US website that features anonymous postcard messages.

Paperback review: British Gothic Cinema, By Barry Forshaw

Fans of Hammer will relish its defence in this erudite survey, particularly against the insistence of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee that they had merely made “colourful fantasies”. In Forshaw’s view, Curse of Frankenstein is “deeply visceral”, while Dracula is “subversive… perfectly constructed”.

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