Arts and Entertainment

Given our national obsession with property prices, Tim Walker’s novel is bound to hit a nerve. His fictional couple, the Manvilles, bought their large north London home at a knock-down price in the 1990s, and it became the key to two aspects of their family life. Jerry, a successful advertising executive, undertook all the original plumbing, electrical and redecoration work; Pen devised a series of popular children’s books, The House on the Hill, whose “cheeky brat with the ridiculous schemes” is modelled on, and named after, her real-life son Conrad: 15 years on, they have done a loft conversion, and divorced.

A Bedroom Tax protest outside the SNP Autumn Conference in October 2013; nine months after its introduction, the policy is still dividing opinions

The 'bedroom tax' remains one of the most divisive of Coalition policies

Labour has pledged to abolish the scheme

Property news roundup: North-South rent divide

Plus, how to buy a property at auction, firsttime buyer numbers, and latest rent increases

Janna Bullock, who sold property in Moscow, New York and London, is a society figure in Manhattan

French court orders Alexey Kuznetsov to be extradited to Russia facing criminal charges

Russian authorities issue international warrant for socialite Janna Bullock

Flood Re proposals are expected to become part of the Water Bill in mid-2015

Millions could be left without affordable flood insurance

But home insurance premiums are still falling despite floods

Housing boom squeezing businesses out of London's West End

London's housing boom is pushing businesses out of the West End, a leading commercial property advisor has warned.

Emergency workers battle to contain the flames

Fire wrecks £3m mews home being renovated in west London

Grade-two listed Victorian terrace was left a shell

The home of George Sanders where Marilyn Monroe once stayed

Property news roundup: Homebuyer deposits down

Plus, expensive property hotspots outside London, and a look at house prices around Europe

Two bedroom flat to rent at Beaufort Court, Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff CF10. On with Northwood UK at £650 pcm (£150 pw)

One in five landlords has returned early from a holiday to help tenants

On average, landlords visited their property three times in the last 12 months to carry out repairs

Danny Cousins, 21, and his 66-year-old father, Mick, are sharing a one-bed flat in Luton while Danny saves for a house

The boomerang generation: Forced back to the nest by lack of jobs and high cost of living

Official figures show Britain now has more than 3m ‘boomerangers’, and it’s getting worse

More than a quarter of young Brits still with their parents

More than a quarter of young Brits still with their parents

More than a quarter of young Brits still live with their parents as the economic downturn and rising house prices prevent them from moving out.

Zakieya Latrice Avery has been charged with the murder of her two children

'Exorcism' deaths: Mother Zakieya Avery stabbed children to death 'to remove the presence of the devil'

Avery was allegedly performing an exorcism when she stabbed her two toddlers

Five bedroom new flat for sale, Penthouse B The Atrium, 127-131 Park Road, London NW8. On with Aston Chase at
£9,750,000

Property news roundup: Using Google Glass to sell properties

Plus, househunter numbers up, house supply down, and latest mortgage figures

Nearly £6,000 worth of Viagra stolen from Ministry of Defence since 2007

Drug is among millions of pounds of military stock stolen in the past seven years

Gregory and Sandi Leeson are thoroughly creeped out by their 113-year-old Victorian home; they have described their home as 'slightly haunted'

The ghost of an idea: Couple advertises home as 'slightly haunted'

Faced with a scary housing market, one American couple has found a novel way to attract interest

Negotiating the minefield: The basic dos and don'ts of picking your new student accommodation

The world of estate agents and student flats is a tricky one - but these simple rules should see you right

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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
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
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
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform