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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Set a pest to catch a pest

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Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
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A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
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...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
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Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

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Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
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Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

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Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
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International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

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Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border