Paretsky says: 'My fantasy is to live in a cave in the Italian hills, but with electricity, and a beautiful boy bringing me a cappuccino every morning'

Sara Paretsky: The crime writer on her alcoholic mother, VI Warshawski, and longing to be free

There is a theme in crime literature of women being either the femme fatale or the victim When I first read Raymond Chandler, in six out of seven of his novels the woman presented herself sexually, and it galvanised me into thinking, surely there are better ways of representing women, who are more believable and had to solve their own problems? [My character, private investigator] VI Warshawski grew out of that, though it took me eight years until I had the courage to put her on page.

Labour economist Professor Lord Richard Layard pictured in London

Richard Layard: ‘Money is not the only thing affecting people’s happiness’

The Chris Blackhurst Interview: With one in six adults in the UK suffering from mental illness, Professor Lord Richard Layard is convinced it’s time for a serious response from Government – which would save the NHS money too

The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The British actor is the doyen of motion-capture performance but, he tells Craig McLean, he has ambitions beyond the 'mo-cap' suit

Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters

Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

The aristocrat wrote a best-selling memoir about the life he lived in Sandaig with his pet otters, and his eccentric devotion to them inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic

Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Friendships get suspended when you're on the track I'm friends with [fellow British cyclists and Olympic and World champions] Laura Trott and Dani King, but when we're competing against each other, even in training, there is a big rivalry that comes alive between us. Then, once we're off the track, we can go back to being friends again.

Jung Chang: The author of 'Wild Swans' on ruthless empresses, English pubs, and why email monitoring is nothing new to her

In Wild Swans, you speak about being encouraged to inform on people from a young age. How did that culture leave its mark on you?

Is maverick master builder Bjarke Ingels the world's smartest architect - or just the craziest?

From a power station topped with a ski slope, to a flood-defence park in Manhattan - there's no such thing as 'can't' for this architect
Lionel Messi has won six La Liga and three Champions League winners medals

Lionel Messi: The world at his feet

If Argentina win tomorrow, it will be thanks to the best player on the planet. Not that he’ll be boasting about it though

Dale Vince says we will soon have to embrace electric cars

Dale Vince interview: The £100m hippy with wind in his turbines and Quorn in his burgers

The founder and chief executive of renewable-energy company Ecotricity, says the Government is out of tune with the electorate on green issues

Cornelia Parker: The installation artist on mucking out pigs, blowing things up and Michael Gove's 'terrifying' cuts

I never got to play as a child All my spare time was spent working on my family's smallholding. It was a life of drudgery, really, planting vegetables, digging, mucking out the pigs; perhaps that's why I left for art school and became an artist – to work on stuff that had no [practical] use to it.

Craig Brown: The satirist on death threats from Harold Pinter - and why Jeremy Clarkson makes him feel like a woman

Has anyone ever told you they enjoyed your parody of them?

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
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11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

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KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker