For all you Agatha Christie and devious poison-plot detective novel addicts, here's a review of Kathryn Harkup's A is for Arsenic. The Poisons of Agatha Christie. More belladonna and cyanide than you can shake a stick at.
I heard an episode of the Double X Gabfest podcast the other day in which Noreen Malone of New York Magazine claimed that superhero movies were only made for teenage boys, or nerdy men, and that women didn't go to see them. (Even though she lives in Brooklyn! That just seems improbable.) Superhero movies are … Continue reading Comic books and Spider-Woman: a little rant
This week's Really Like This Book's podcast script catch-up is on Geoffrey Trease's The Crown of Violet (1952), which is set in Ancient Greece, in about 400 BC. Trease should not be confused with Henry Treece, the other English historical novelist of his period filed near him on the shelf. Trease wrote for what we now call … Continue reading Selective history in Geoffrey Trease’s The Crown of Violet
Prepare for high-stakes romantic melodrama, early 1920s style. This Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up is about Dornford Yates' first two novels. Anthony Lyveden was published in 1921 and its sequel, Valerie French, appeared in 1923: they were written after he had made his name with several collections of brilliant and witty short stories … Continue reading Dornford Yates’s Gothic melodramas, in Anthony Lyveden & Valerie French
From time to time I binge on Discworld. This week, on holiday, I’ve been rereading some of the Terry Pratchett novels that tackle bigotry and racism. They are deeply satisfying combings from the beard of his invention. They don't offer a unified theory of how people could be nice to each other, but they are … Continue reading Pratchett on bigotry
Sax Rohmer (listen to the podcast of the earlier version of this review here) was obsessed with what he and the lower reaches of the pre-First World War popular British press used to call ‘the Yellow Peril’ (I hope you notice the inverted commas around that phrase). After the war, things began to get … Continue reading Sax Rohmer’s The Mystery of Fu-Manchu
The novel of 1913 that I’m resurrecting from the Really Like This Book podcast scripts is the first modern thriller, The Power-House by John Buchan. This is often overlooked because of its far more famous younger brother, The Thirty-Nine Steps, which was published two years later in 1915. When Buchan wrote The Power-House, he was … Continue reading John Buchan and The Power-House