Travel

Mons is embracing the future as it prepares for its role as next year’s European Capital of Culture, but it’s also steeped in intriguing history. Philip Sweeney explores its two sides

Invisible Ink: No 197 - The other Sherlock Holmes writers

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s consulting detective inspired many other authors to tackle stories beyond the accepted canon. Adrian Conan Doyle picked up his father’s mantle, accompanied by John Dickson Carr (who I imagine did most of the heavy lifting) for The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, based on 12 unexplained cases mentioned by Holmes, but these tales are now out of print.

Invisible Ink: No 195 - Roland Quiz

Victorian children’s stories were often the stuff of nightmares. As a child I inherited my grandfather’s books and was haunted by an illustration, “Karik And Valya Trapped In The Lair Of The Water-Spider” – which showed two miniaturised Russian children being wrapped in slimy webbing by a gigantic eight-legged multi-eyed horror at the bottom of a pond – from The Extraordinary Adventures of Karik and Valya, by Yan Larri.

Free press? Cameras follow Barack Obama at the White House

Truth is the first casualty of 'transparency'

Out of America: Despite President Obama's promises of openness, leakers are pursued as never before and it's harder for journalists to do their job

Nigel Harman as visiting valet Mr Green, who attacked and raped Anna Bates in Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey: Nothing gratuitous about this harrowingly accurate rape scene

On his fourth series,  Julian Fellowes is bound to want to keep his plotlines interesting

Jeremy Paxman blasts David Cameron over WWI centenary comments

'What on earth is he talking about?' asks the Newsnight presenter

Bob Geldof at the One Young World summit

Bob Geldof: The world could end by 2030

The Boomtown Rats star gives doom-laden climate change prediction

Invisible Ink: No 193 - Harry Graham

A talent for frivolously cruel humour is not something one expects from a man with the following heavyweight CV: Jocelyn Henry Clive Graham, nicknamed Harry, was the son of Sir Henry Graham and Lady Edith Elizabeth Gathorne-Hardy.

Television choices: Rageh Omaar's timely take on the roots of modern conflict in The Ottomans

TV pick of the week: The Ottomans: Europe's Muslim Emperors

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anna, Sir Richard Branson, far right, and Irish activist Sir Bob Geldof, second from right, during the opening ceremony for the One Young World summit

One Young World conference encourages new generation of leaders at world's largest youth gathering

The world is in a terrible mess. Global warming is causing irreversible damage to the environment, poverty and greed is stifling progress and corruption is rife. The solution? It’s time to hand over the reigns to the next generation. 

Plans to double number of army reserves will create ‘surge in mental health problems’

Charities say members of the TA are twice as likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder than soldiers in the regular forces

Invisible Ink: No 192 - Axel Munthe

It was said that in Axel Munthe’s one major book there were enough plots and short stories to fill the rest of most writers’ lives. It became a beloved classic, variously described as amazing, horrible, hilarious, romantic, pitiful, enchanting, and possessing that strange simplicity of mind which is often the attribute of genius.

Sean O'Grady: A tale of previous hits and misses – but I’m in for Royal Mail shares...

Once upon a time I was one of those people who refused to buy privatisation shares on the grounds that the Government (“wicked Tory” then as now being the usual adjectives attached to that phrase) was selling something that already belonged to me.

Paperback review: Servants, By Lucy Lethbridge

Frederick Daniel Hardy’s 1871 painting After the Party seems to strike more of the truth about a servant’s life than any Downton Abbey episode, and Lethbridge’s account of servant life at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th reinforces that impression.

Invisible Ink: No 190 - Arthur Upfield

Golden Age crime-writing was not the exclusive province of the British and the Americans. Arthur Upfield is an interesting case, because something very disturbing happened to him. Upfield was born in 1890 in Hampshire, but in 1910, after he fared poorly in his exams (he was planning to become an estate agent) his father shipped him off to Australia, where he eventually settled – if you can call it settling, for he led an itinerant life.

Brum deal: ‘Peaky Blinders’

Grace Dent on TV: Peaky Blinders, BBC2 – This is the least frightening crime gang name ever

This new BBC drama with a daft title is big, beautiful, Brummie... and a bit bloody slow

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before