The Long Firm by Jake Arnott

I’m writing a lot about London in the 1960s at the moment, and so to read both London and 1960s set THE LONG FIRM was an absolute treat. A treat which made me turn puce with envious thoughts, but a treat nonetheless. This is really a superb example of how to conjure up a period.…

The Zebra-Striped Hearse by Ross Macdonald

First things first, why is it called ‘The Zebra-Striped Hearse’? Yes, Archer does encounter the titular vehicle, but it’s hardly of crucial importance to the story, at best only tangential to the investigation. So why name the whole book after it? Of course the most simple and Occam’s Razor answer is that once MacDonald coined…

Bad Penny Blues by Cathi Unsworth

It’s a curious thing that Jack the Stripper is the most prolific, uncaught serial killer in Twentieth Century British history and yet is largely forgotten, even by us Brits. Talk to most Britains about Jack the Stripper and they’ll think you have a lisp. One can only imagine that the soubriquet the press gave him…

The Richard Burton Diaries

To review this, I've dipped into the vast resource that is the F.R. Jameson diaries. They'll probably be available to buy sometime around 2050. December 26th, 2016 I received a brand new paperback edition of THE RICHARD BURTON DIARIES from my lovely wife yesterday. I’m greatly looking forward to them. Obviously. I’ll dip in and…

Modesty Blaise by Peter O’Donnell

Taken purely as a character, Modesty Blaise is flipping great. An international adventurer, she's enigmatic, endlessly resourceful, a physical match for anybody and effortlessly in charge of every room she enters. With beauty as well, she is the Bond girl who never was, the one who would completely emasculate Bond. Absolutely as a character she…