essays on history, myth, ideas, books, film, music…

Famous then forgotten

I’ve been reading some of the detective novels of Freeman Wills Crofts (1879-1957), and found him almost completely unknown now other than by a brief biographical notice on Wikipedia. Throughout … Continue reading

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Thursday, 8 June, 2017 · Leave a comment

The letter and the spirit

I was watching some old episodes of Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect (thanks to a few dedicated Youtubers) and was intrigued at the reasoning of some of the panel members who … Continue reading

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Wednesday, 17 May, 2017 · Leave a comment

Margery Allingham: a review

Could Margery Allingham have achieved something unique in her writing, a contemporary novel based on the structure of the detective story? I believe so. I read Julia Jones’ biography of … Continue reading

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Sunday, 14 May, 2017 · 3 Comments

Looking ahead

‘Seeing is believing’, we used to say, and,  ‘the camera cannot lie’. Afterwards we became suspicious: Hollywood’s special effects, and Photoshop, made us doubt what we saw. In the 1930s … Continue reading

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Friday, 10 March, 2017 · Leave a comment

Persian fact and fiction

I’ve been fascinated by ancient history ever since schooldays, when Brother Chrysostom, my science teacher, once moonlighted as an ancient history teacher and blew me away with a thrilling account … Continue reading

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Sunday, 26 February, 2017 · Leave a comment

Dashiell Hammett’s 5 novels

I first read the books of Dashiell Hammett after reading Raymond Chandler. Chandler’s essay The Simple Art of Murder, and some of his letters, give Hammett his due as one … Continue reading

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Saturday, 7 January, 2017 · 4 Comments

The magus and his spell

John Fowles (1926-2005) was an English novelist fortunate enough to sell the screen rights of his first three novels: The Collector (book 1963, film 1965); The Magus (book 1966 and … Continue reading

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Thursday, 24 November, 2016 · 3 Comments