Christopher Hirst

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

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Book review: The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable, By Carol Baxter

Reading his account of a real-life crime in 1845 is an experience close to time travel. Through impressive research and unshowy prose, Baxter whisks us back to the start of the modern age.

Book review: You Can't Read This Book, By Nick Cohen

As ardent as it is readable, this account of "censorship in an age of freedom" starts with The Satanic Verses, banned by states as varied as Sudan and apartheid South Africa, then moves on to the murder of Theo van Gogh "in Amsterdam, the city of Spinoza and Anne Frank".

Book review: Sorry! The English and their Manners, By Henry Hitchings

Though packed with interest – the first citation of "please" in the OED is from 1774 – this exploration of a topic relevant to all (except hermits) tends to stray off course.

Restaurant review: The Green Room, 138 Victoria Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

'I was lured into the restaurant by a pot of lemon posset'

Book review: A Social History of English Cricket, By Derek Birley

Noting that the game was "of uncertain, though bucolic parentage", Birley delineates enduring traits in this witty panorama, rightly acclaimed when first published in 1999.

Book review: Royal Sex, By Roger Powell

Surely the most alluring title in the limitless library of royal titles turns out to be a comprehensive if sanitised account of regal bits on the side.

Book review: In Praise of Messy Lives, By Katie Roiphe

Having "two children, with two different fathers, neither of whom I am living with", this New York professor of journalism concedes that "my own life… is a little messy".

Book review: Gorilla, By Ted Gott and Kathryn Weir

Our vegetarian cousins (we shared a common ancestor seven million years ago) have generated an odd mix of fear and appeal.

Book reivew: The Horologicon, By Mark Forsyth

Ahoy! A word lover's guide to English archaisms

Book review: Inventing Ruritania, By Verna Goldsworthy

The vampire chronicles: what bookish Balkans did for us

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Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...