Independent Plus

Watch trailers for our television and film critic's choice:

Invisible Ink: No 112 - Patricia Wentworth

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.

Invisible Ink: No 111 - Nicholas Blake

I have a tenuous connection to this author, having gone to school with Daniel Day-Lewis, whose father was our Poet Laureate.

Rebecca Tyrrel: 'Margaret Rutherford cared about the ishoos'

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.

Soho celebs strip off for charity show

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.

Prague Fatale, By Philip Kerr

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.

John Rentoul: Why did nobody stop Gordon Brown?

Another memoir from a former member of Brown's government adds brushstroke detail and depth to his monster status

Alli and Astor quit Mr Men owner Chorion

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.

Letter from the editor: i's relationship with its readers

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 &ndash; The Kids Who Play with Fire/BBC2<br />Fisherman's Friends/ITV1

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.

The Blagger's Guide To...Literature in translation

The Bible exists in 2,400 of the world's languages

Invisible Ink: No 78 - Arnold Ridley

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.

You'll catch your breath at these West Country views

Walk Of The Month

HRF Keating: Prolific and award-winning crime writer best known for his Inspector Ghote novels

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.

Natalie Haynes: A crime against Christie

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.

A Shortcut to Paradise, By Teresa Solana

Criminal capers in Barcelona
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn