Arts and Entertainment

A boy enters a palace of a hundred rooms where an assassin may lurk behind every door and shadowy figures are reflected in a Hall of Mirrors.  An astonishing treasure lies at its heart, but powerful enemies are at the gates.

BOOK REVIEW / Bound for the lust outpost of Empire: The mountain of immoderate desires by Leslie Wilson, Weidenfeld pounds 14.99

A RICH vein of farce runs through Leslie Wilson's drama of turn-of-the-century Hong Kong, not least because both her protagonists are unsure of their own identities. They are further confused by wayward sexual drives, colonial clubland codes, religious zeal and random acts of spurious morality.

Computers: Feedback: McGonagall not guilty

Your article of 28 January. Am I the 100th person to tell you that it wasn't McGonagall on Queen Victoria, but Alfred Austin, the Poet Laureate, on Edward VII.

Letter: A mythical tale fit for a queen

Sir: Please do not keep perpetrating the myth that it's all due to Queen Victoria that there is no mention of lesbians in British law. ('Face to face in the homosexual debate', 20 January: 'Queen Victoria didn't think women could do that to each other, so there's no mention of lesbians in the law.')

REAR WINDOW / Restless Royals: Prince, 40s, seeks international role

JANUARY 1885: the Prince of Wales was angry with the Prime Minister about arrangements for a forthcoming royal visit to Ireland. Gladstone, while agreeing that the trip was a good idea, was insisting that the Prince pay his own bills.

A tale of indecent exposures: The apparently respectable French pioneers of 19th-century photography sold pornographic and erotic prints on the side, says John Windsor

The fathers of French photography lined their pockets by selling erotic and pornographic photographs on the side, according to a book to be published next month. Three years' detective work by the Swiss author-photographer Serge Nazarieff has unmasked the big names behind an undercover trade in female nude photographs which spread through Europe from 1849, after shorter exposure times had made photography of live subjects possible.

BOOK REVIEW / Anxious years for turbulent priests: 'The Parting of Friends' - David Newsome: Gracewing, 15.95 pounds

IT ALL seemed so important then. While the Established Church came to terms quite quickly with the Darwinian revolution, the advances in biblical scholarship were a different matter. An eternity of absolutes appeared to some to be at an end. Yet one certainty remained, or so it appeared to others. Membership of the Church of Rome, with its alleged faithfulness to the early Church, offered a passport to eternal salvation.

Gordon a 'hostage to history': Boxes of documents released at the Public Record Office chart the activities of British intelligence and its network of agents from a century ago. Stephen Ward reports

THE accepted version of one of the dramas of the 19th century - Gladstone's failure to relieve a besieged General Gordon at Khartoum - is questioned by high-level British intelligence reports from the period, which were released yesterday.

Speedboats bring peril of high road to Loch Lomond

QUEEN VICTORIA loved it. So did Dr Johnson, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey, and Sir Walter Scott. The problem is that everyone who has visited Loch Lomond has loved it too.

The & Now: Anniversaries

30 May 1431: Joan of Arc burnt for heresy.

Fashion: Charity ball funds orphanage work

THE Romanian Orphanage Trust is hosting a fashion ball tomorrow to help fund its work for Romania's 130,000 orphans.

BBC ends seafaring voyage for radio show: Seamen's programme to be axed after 50 years

THE missions have all but gone. The special seafarers' hospital has closed. Now the BBC has caught up with the decline of the British merchant fleet and is ending its 50-year-old radio programme specially for seamen.

King John's medieval crusade

THIS newspaper article intends to tell you the difference between Thatcherism and Majorism, or bust.

Base jumper who defies the City limits 'for kicks'

IT ALL happened so quickly - which is the normal state of affairs for base jumpers such as Russell Powell who actively seek a life in the fast lane.

CHILDREN'S BOOKS / In a class of his own: Jeremy Sissons on school stories

Nigel Molesworth is 40. Hard to believe that the little horror has become a big horror, or indeed grown up at all. He is preserved in print like a caveman in ice, witness to all that is (or was) primitive in the British schoolboy. In 1952 Geoffrey Willans, who had taught at a prep-school and lived, teamed up with Ronald Searle, who had finished his St Trinian's saga and was looking for fresh meat. A genial pair of Frankensteins, they created a new monster, the curse of St Custard's ('it smell of chalk latin books skool ink foopball boots and birdseed').
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links