The Good Books of 2022

New to me The First Woman, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi from 2020 was a stunning read, a brilliant novel about modern Ugandan history and social change. When Kirabo is in her teens, her father decides that she will come to live with him in the city, and Kirabo is wildly excited because her father is … Continue reading The Good Books of 2022


The Good Books 2021

Here are the books that I enjoyed most in 2021. You can read about those I liked best in 2020 here. Biography/memoir/autobiography/history The Element of Lavishness, Letters between Sylvia Townsend Warner and William Maxwell was a Christmas present from 2020 that got shunted into the waiting room while I read her letters to and from … Continue reading The Good Books 2021

The performances of Roderick Alleyn: Ngaio Marsh at her best

I accidentally began rereading Ngaio Marsh’s Roderick Alleyn detective novels before Christmas, and have now, a month later, read them all, bar the four that I didn't have which have yet to arrive via Abebooks. These novels are Marsh’s most well-known works, superb Golden Age detective novels in the classic whodunit style, published from the 1930s … Continue reading The performances of Roderick Alleyn: Ngaio Marsh at her best

Margery Allingham’s The Beckoning Lady

This is the first podcast script for the first podcast series I produced, on an A to Z of authors I really like. Looking for Author A was tough: Asimov, von Arnim, Austen, Alcott, Aaronovitch and Adams stare at me pleadingly from the bookshelf, but the English detective novelist Margery Allingham has the most shelf centimetres. She … Continue reading Margery Allingham’s The Beckoning Lady

The Golden Age detective novels of Ianthe Jerrold

I do like a classic detective novel from the British Golden Age. The reigning queens of the genre -  Dorothy L Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, and Josephine Tey - are superb novelists, and highly influential stylists. It would be a fine thing to discover forgotten writers who are as good as they are, … Continue reading The Golden Age detective novels of Ianthe Jerrold

In the mud with Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male

This podcast for Why I Really Like This Book was for the miniseries on Thrillers for Gentlemen, looking at the kind of thriller or spy novel that was masculine without being brutal. These novels were written about men of a certain generation who understood the value of the gentleman’s club, and worked within its rules. … Continue reading In the mud with Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male

Coroner’s Pidgin

Beginning my reposting of my scripts from Why I Really Like This Book, this is a lucky dip from the vaults: Coroner’s Pidgin by Margery Allingham. It was the last classic detective fiction novel of the Five Great Reads miniseries. I’ve been reading some great detective novels from the 1930s and 1940s, because this is my favourite kind of … Continue reading Coroner’s Pidgin