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Sunday 26 February 2012
It wasn't realism that made the early female detectives successful; after all, Miss Marple was a twinkly, rosy-cheeked old busybody who based her criminal knowledge solely on gossip overheard in her village.
Sunday 19 February 2012
I have a tenuous connection to this author, having gone to school with Daniel Day-Lewis, whose father was our Poet Laureate.
Saturday 03 December 2011
Who knew that Tony Benn is a first cousin of the late lamented Margaret Rutherford? Admittedly their cousinhood was once removed, but this seems strangely fitting because some used to believe that Benn was once removed from reality. According to Kelvin McKenzie's Sun, he was the barmiest man in England. It was a title that, tragically, could have been applied to Rutherford's father, who bludgeoned his own father to death with a chamber pot – Agatha Christie would have certainly approved of the method. And Rutherford was quite an eccentric herself, of course. She built her film career playing up the battiness, happily without murdering anybody.
Friday 02 December 2011
How many lives can Bernie Gunther have? The dogged Berlin policeman of Philip Kerr is now enjoying – if that's the word – his eighth. The Gunther books appear out of chronological sequence, but the protagonist remains consistent, stoical, appalled by others and himself, carrying the darkly flaming torch of gallows humour. After South America, Cuba and the US in the 1950s, he's back in the Second World War, this time in the service of the monster Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsprotector of Bohemia. It is September 1941.
Friday 02 December 2011
Sadie Frost and Jaime Winstone have posed naked in photographs at London's Groucho Club to raise money for the National Autistic Society. Frost is stretching naked on a bed and Winstone is sitting on a chair, with nothing but a vintage red gypsy curtain over her lap. Organised by Bernie Katz, the club's manager, this collection of nude and semi-nude portraits of stars of Soho, snapped by Andrea Vecchiato, are on show this week at London's The Gallery Soho.
Sunday 04 September 2011
Another memoir from a former member of Brown's government adds brushstroke detail and depth to his monster status
Friday 26 August 2011
Waheed Alli and William Astor have stepped down as chairman and deputy chairman of Chorion, the group that owns the rights to characters such as the Mr Men and the Famous Five.
Saturday 06 August 2011
One of the nicest things about i – unprecedented in my Fleet Street experience – is the newspaper’s relationship with its readers.
Last Night's TV: Agatha Christie's Marple/ITV1<br />Wonderland – The Kids Who Play with Fire/BBC2<br />Fisherman's Friends/ITV1
Thursday 16 June 2011
I don't know whether you care why they didn't ask Evans or not, but if you're hoping for clarification here I'm afraid I'm going to have to disappoint you. I didn't know the answer before I watched Agatha Christie's Marple, never having read that particular novel, and I'm no wiser now that I have. I can tell you who Evans was, because he was played by Mark Williams, who could read out the fine print on a phone contract and make it interesting. Or at least I can tell you who one Evans was, because I was vaguely aware – through the light coma of the final explanation scene – that another Evans was sprung on us at the final moment. But I'm afraid I don't know what they should have asked Evans or why exactly this question was connected to the dying man who'd croaked it out two achingly long hours earlier. I fought sleep valiantly, I promise you, but there were a couple of moments when it had me pinned for a while.
Sunday 22 May 2011
Sunday 22 May 2011
Here's a sweet story. Arnold Ridley was a one-time elementary school teacher from Bath, born in 1896, who fought in the First World War and longed to be on the stage, but suffered injuries at the Somme – his left arm was badly damaged, he was bayoneted in the groin, and was prone to blackouts from a fractured skull.
Sunday 03 April 2011
Friday 01 April 2011
In his 50 years in the world of crime fiction, the multi-award winning author Harry Keating rubbed shoulders with the greats of every generation, from Agatha Christie on. During his long career he published over 50 crime novels and numerous short stories and edited and wrote various non-fiction works. He was also an astute critic of the genre, especially during his 15 years as crime fiction critic for The Times.
Thursday 31 March 2011
There aren't many absolutes I use to decide whether or not I like a person. I'm vegetarian, for example, but I don't mind at all that my friends aren't. I'm happy to disagree with people politically. And I don't even care if they like team sports, when I only watch tennis, boxing and darts.
Tuesday 22 March 2011
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
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