Arts and Entertainment

Adam Foulds’s last novel, The Quickening Maze, was a truly superb study in madness and early psychiatric methods, combining the intellectual and the visceral in often startling ways (few will forget his description of the “dismantling” of a deer). In this latest work, he retains that powerful blend and focuses on another kind of madness: the madness of war.

Inspector Montalbano, BBC4, Saturday
How to Grow a Planet, BBC2, Tuesday

Who would want to fill the 'Borgen' slot on BBC4? Sadly, mouth-watering views of Sicily and oodles of pasta do not a detective drama make

Wine: Something for the weekend

Couch potato

Benedict XVI: The Archbishop of Palermo Paolo Romeo is quoted as saying the Pontiff would die within 12 months

Vatican in turmoil after letter 'reveals plot to assassinate Pope'

Sensational claims of a plot to assassinate Pope Benedict XVI have whipped Italy into a frenzy and focused the world's attention on the poisonous atmosphere seeping through the corridors of the Holy See.

Upwardly mobile: Snowshoeing across the slopes of Etna

Fire and ice: Strap on your snow shoes and explore Mount Etna

There is one vital ingredient to every snowshoeing trip. And that's snow. Pulling back the curtains of my hotel room window, I gazed out at the sheer slopes of Mount Etna. There wasn't a flake to be seen. Did Luca, my guide, have some bad news? "Don't worry," he said, while loading our snowshoes into the van.

Big smoke: Mount Etna rumbles in the distance

48 Hours: Catania

Even in winter, this Sicilian city charms with colourful festivities, delicious food and dramatic scenery, says Duncan Garwood.

Accabadora, By Michela Murgia, trans. Silvester Mazzarella

Michela Murgia's novel has been an immense success in Italy, where it has won six literary prizes. Accabadora is a Sardinian term for an angel of mercy who tends the chronically sick and dying, acting as a kind of midwife with eternity in view. The accabadora here is Bonaria Urrai, a seamstress unable to have children. Bonaria adopts the six-year-old Maria Listru, whose widowed mother Anna Teresa can no longer afford to raise her. Maria thus becomes a fill'e anima, a soul-child, the fruit of Anna Teresa's womb and Bonaria's loving spirit.

Wine: Something for the weekend

Under £6

Appetite for lower-fat ice cream feeds high-street 'gelato' boom

When is an ice cream not an ice cream? When it's a "gelato".

Sicily's new oil boom threatens marine life, campaigners warn

Pristine and fragile stretches of the Sicilian coastline are under threat from the rush to plunder the island's rich oil resources, environment campaigners warned yesterday.

Video: Mount Etna erupts

The latest eruption on Mount Etna sent flames hundreds of metres into the air at the weekend.

Chelsea target Javier Pastore wants Italy stay

Javier Pastore would rather remain in Italy than join a Premier League team if he decides to leave Palermo this summer.

Letters from London and Europe, By Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

The Prince of Lampedusa led an erratic life before, nearly 60, he began his ironic classic of 19th-century Sicily, The Leopard. Translated by JG Nichols, this selection of letters home during 1920s travels gathers much finely atmospheric writing.

Invisible Ink: No 83 - Alexander Baron

It's hard for frontline war writers to show an objective sensitivity to their subject matter while fighting for their country.

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
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A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?