Over on Vulpes Libris I did a rapid round-up of nine Scottish novels for St Andrew's Night. Which is today, 30 November. Once you've read them, get yer kilt on, and get thee to a ceilidh.
In this excellent newspaper memoir-novel from 1951, it is always Monica Dickens’ turn to make the tea. She is a posh girl, the youngest staff member on the Downingham Post, and the only woman on this very small, local daily paper. She isn’t a campaigning career journalist: she’s really a writer rather than a reporter … Continue reading Country journalism: Monica Dickens’ My Turn to Make the Tea
The Hanging Tree is the sixth in the Peter Grant Rivers of London series – about a wizard’s apprentice in a special department of London’s Metropolitan Police, dedicated to sorting out the ‘weird bollocks’ that the regular Met don’t wish to have anything to do with. I think the best way to update other fans, … Continue reading More magic in London: Ben Aaronovitch’s The Hanging Tree
This fine novel from 1930 about newspaper proprietors and their unexpected influences has a title that hasn’t travelled well. Be it known that the 'Gay' of the title is an invented Scottish clan-type name that probably derives from the medieval ancestry of its Westwater owners, headed by Lord Rhynns. ‘Gay’ is a place-name. Let’s get on … Continue reading Romping through the heather: John Buchan’s Castle Gay
Orphaned Maha lives in her grandparents’ house in Durban, where she has everything she needs, except her parents, who died in anti-apartheid protests. She has a perfectly nice life in a strict but well-off Muslim household, though her great-aunt and cousins next door are uniformly vile. If she were living with them she’d be Cinderella. … Continue reading The Story of Maha, by Sumayya Lee
Some years ago I wrote a scholarly investigation on the role of menswear in P G Wodehouse’s fiction (read about it on this page). As part of the background reading I waded my way through all his Psmith novels. They’re not my favourite Wodehouse stories, but I do have a fond appreciation for his cautionary … Continue reading 1915 New York newspapers: P G Wodehouse’s Psmith Journalist
This novel from 1901 is surprisingly easy to whip through, considering it was co-written by two heavyweights of English literature, Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford (in his earlier guise as Hueffer). Their writing style does not usually allow a fast and snappy read. They were both masters of the elliptical and the oblique, circumlocuting their subject … Continue reading Do you believe what the newspapers say? The Inheritors, by Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Hueffer