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
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for