Arts and Entertainment Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch backstage at the 25th annual Producers Guild of America Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel

Actors had 'a lot to talk about'

The curious case of the author who would not die

The characters are cardboard, the plots rely on chance and the settings are implausible. But no one can resist an Agatha Christie, says Barry Forshaw

Mr Dick, or The Tenth Book, By Jean-Pierre Ohl, trans. Christine Donougher

An old curiosity shop of a book – with a twist of literary malice

Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales from Burns to Buchan, ed Gordon Jarvie

So many of these tales are concerned with loss and death – the loss of children or a partner, or the threat of extinction from an alien hand – that it's no surprise to learn many were written either against the backdrop of war or famine, or about a specific battle or conflict. The hope of survival in another form is apparent too, with vanished lovers or children being transformed into birds or animals, giving many of the stories an added poignancy.

'It's elementary, you slag,' Ritchie does Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie's next film abandons gangsters for 'Sherlock Holmes'. Here's a sneak preview of the script

Victorian murder mystery inspires book prize winner

When a three-year-old was brutally murdered in an urbane Wiltshire household in 1860, the crime created a national frenzy and sparked an entire new literary genre of the aristocratic "country house murder".

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the Hollywood duel

Sherlock Holmes, the pipe-smoking Victorian super-sleuth with a penchant for cocaine, is to become the subject of a face-off by two Hollywood studios which are both bringing out films about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's literary hero.

Trail Of The Unexpected: The game is afoot... Sherlock Holmes and the FA Cup connection

As Portsmouth FC take on Cardiff City in this afternoon's FA Cup final, the players from Pompey (as the team is always known) may find themselves watched over by the spirit of an erstwhile goalkeeper and leading light of Victorian England.

The Great British quiz: How well do you know your country?

Can you tell your sports stadia from your stately homes? Reckon you’re an expert on everything from Dickens and Shakespeare to pork pies and potted shrimps? Enter our quiz – and win a fabulous hamper from Fortnum & Mason

Angus McLaren: Blackmail isn't what it used to be, but it still sets the pulse racing

The blackmailer has fewer victims in an age of liberal sexual attitudes. But an alleged attempt to extort money from a Royal shows hypocrisy retains its thrill for the prurient

East Anglia Derby: Grant ready with his shark riposte

Great White welcome awaits Norwich's new manager today - but his team will bite back

Miles Kington: When the writer becomes the star

'Usually, the fictional creation outshines the creator,' said Pranger. 'But now Conan Doyle has bounced back'

Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes

A secret mystery of history
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor