John Walsh

Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.

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Travel special 2014: Recalling murderous fun on the Orient Express

Ah, the Orient Express! What images she conjures in our minds... The gorgeous old carriages, brown-and-cream in their English incarnation, blue-and-gold for the trans-European hurtle to Venice, the train on which Hercules Poirot solves the most, shall we say, all-inclusive murder plot in all Agatha Christie's books, the setting for Graham Greene's sinister Mitteleuropean wheeler-dealers in Stamboul Train, the carriages in which James Bond wrestles to the death with his Soviet nemesis in From Russia with Love, the enduring dream of interwar, travel-bound intrigue, where romantic British chaps could find mysterious women in torn veils rapping on their couchette door at midnight, and find heftily-moustached Turkish spies passing them secret documents in the dining car...

To travel was to live for Michael Jacobs

Meeting him was to connect to the golden line of British scholar-traveller-adventurers from Patrick Leigh Fermor to Gavin Young

Michelle Obama

Happy 50th, Michelle Obama. I hope your rules for party etiquette cross the Atlantic soon

Please do not mention Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt in front of the hostess

Peyote, London: Restaurant review - 'taco bill'

As drug fiends usually know, peyote is a Mexican cactus with hallucinogenic properties; the visions it conjures are so strong that a religious cult once sprang up to worship it. And a pretty hefty restaurant cult has appeared in the UK that worships simple Mexican cuisine.

One American computer hacker, plus one stolen ‘Downton Abbey’ script, equals a whole new take on Lady Edith’s baby

A hacker called Guccifer nearly had the opportunity to rewrite the period drama. Here's what it might have looked like

Keith Vaz

Keith Vaz: The 'Teflon MP' who enjoys the limelight

He was on the news again this week, at Luton airport to greet a Romanian migrant. Despite suspicion and ridicule, there seems to be no stopping the rise of the MP for Leicester East

Colin Farrell has revealed that he enjoyed an unusually close relationship late actress Elizabeth Taylor before she passed away in 2011 aged 79.

Plastic currency is the future. But I can't be the only one who'll mourn the paper bank note

This is just one more step towards a world devoid of sensory delight

Geena Davis

Geena Davis: Thelma rides again

In her most famous role, the actress (and Mensa member) stood up for downtrodden women everywhere. Now she’s found a new front for the fight

'Le' King of New York: French maestro Daniel Boulud and the year's most extraordinary cookbook

Daniel Boulud is a giant of American restaurants. Now the French master has produced the year’s most extraordinary – and fiendishly complex – cookbook. What’s the French for "gastonomic absurdity"?

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Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick