Category Archives: Novel

“Sweet Danger” by Marjery Allingham; “Have his Carcase” and “Whose Body?” by Dorothy L. Sayers

Sayers is great fun – Wimsey is a wonderful character, such a perfect epitome and caricature of clubland and the Edwardian aristocracy, and her murder mysteries are intricate and teasing. Allingham though is to be preferred: her Campion has greater … Continue reading

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Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451

The Illustrated Man was my previous experience of Ray Bradbury: beautiful and disturbing post-war sci-fi stories, set in our present. Fahrenheit 451 is clearly, from the author’s various prefaces and the publisher’s blurb, a much more famous work, probably because of … Continue reading

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“The Trial of Mussolini” by ‘Cassius’

A wonderful find (I’ve forgotten where from). A 1943 fictionalised transcript of the trial Benito never had, at some putative war-crimes tribunal in London. Part of the Gollancz series of anonymous books published in the war. The first prosecution speech … Continue reading

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“Sweet Danger” by Marjery Allingham; “Have his Carcase” by Dorothy L. Sayers

Campion or Wimsey? Campion. Lugg or Bunter? Bunter. Stanislaus Oates or Parker? Oates. So Allingham wins 2:1. And when you factor in Sayers’ casual racism (part of the time, but tellingly absent from Allingham), and the grating vicarious Wimsey-worship of … Continue reading

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Beryl Bainbridge: “Sweet William”

Puzzled by the very end, which seemed intended as a punchline, making clear what had really been going on, but for me as usual leaving me none the wiser, I found Katha Pollit’s contemporary review of this 1975 novel. This … Continue reading

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Donna Leon: “Through a glass darkly”

Another Donna. Madonna of the laguna, of sumptuous meals with named wines, of the affection of Paola and Elettra, the two women fusing to channel the author’s love for her hero, as Sayers’ for Wimsey and Allingham’s for Campion. Madonna of … Continue reading

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Leon Uris: “Exodus”

Fascinating. Published in 1959, not long after the events it describes, this self-proclaimed epic novel tells the story of the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948. It claims all the ‘events’ are true, but the characters are fictional, and … Continue reading

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