Profile: Politicians' bookshelf

Lord Archer, former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, reigns supreme. His thrillers, including `Kane and Abel' and `Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less', have sold more than 30 million copies world-wide. But Edwina Currie is catching up. Her Commons whodunnits, with raunchy characters and racy plots, sold in their millions. For her latest, `She's Leaving Home', she received an advance of pounds 300,000.

Michael Dobbs, (right) author of `House of Cards', was just a moderately successful writer when television producers became interested in his political saga of naked ambition and greed. The TV serialisation of `House of Cards' more than doubled his earning potential.

Douglas Hurd , the former Foreign Secretary, wrote several successful thrillers in the mid-Seventies before his political career took over, and happily returned to writing after his resignation. In 1994 Timothy Renton, the former Tory Chief Whip during Thatcher's reign, published his debut novel, `The Dangerous Edge', a potent mixture of Westminster power struggles and the kidnapping of two British aid workers in Beirut.