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  Madras has been his home for twenty years, since 1905 … He was comfortable here. … India had certainly changed since his arrival but, despite rising calls for political independence, Gandhi’s mass civil disobedience campaigns, British India’s obdurate response and his own allegiances being challenged by a growing sympathy for India’s cause, the place … Continue readings

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  Lily Buckley’s lived through every bride’s ultimate nightmare, as Colleen Coleman’s For Once in My Life opens – being jilted at the alter by a man who not only tells her he doesn’t love her, but professes undying love for someone else. And yet she’s apparently lived to tell the tale. Or not. Three … Continue readings

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  When Patricia Feinberg Stoner and husband, Patrick, fell in love with a small brown-and-white spaniel, while holidaying at their home in France, little did they envisage the impact it would have on their lives. They spent the next few years living in Morbignan la Crèbe, a small village in Languedoc, encountering all kinds of … Continue readings

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  ‘For everyone, everywhere, who believes in freedom and equality for all’: the dedication to The Word for Freedom, a short story anthology celebrating one hundred years of women’s suffrage, speaks for itself. At the very heart of the collection, edited by Amanda Saint and Rose McGinty, is the fact that ‘we still need words … Continue readings

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The second book in Lilja Sigurðardóttir’s excellent Reykjavík Noir Trilogy, Trap opens with Sonja living in the States with her son, Tómas. When ex-husband Adam grabs their son, he forces Sonja to choose between giving up Tómas completely or returning to Iceland and the life she left behind. Enmeshed once again in Iceland’s drug trade, … Continue readings

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  It’s November 1915 and Europe is a battle zone. Americans are flocking to the continent, even though the United States has not formerly entered the war. Christopher Marlowe ‘Kit’ Cobb, reporter and part-time spy, is among them, as Robert Olen Butler’s elegant new thriller opens, the Nieuports weaving their patterns in the skies up … Continue readings

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  ‘Palm Beach Finland…’ he began and hadn’t managed to formulate the rest of the question before the woman replied. ‘The name is new, the place is old,’ said Koski and glanced behind her. ‘The new owner painted a few walls, put up a sign and renamed the place. He wants to give it an … Continue readings

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  ANTHONY BURGESS ONCE COMMENTED THAT ‘ALL NOVELS ARE EXPERIMENTAL’, and while that appears true of such work as A Clockwork Orange and Napoleon Symphony, I think he would be delighted with Adam Roberts’ The Black Prince, based on a 90-page screenplay that Burgess wrote, which was never filmed. Roberts, an academic, great Burgess fan … Continue readings

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  ‘Personal background info. Loud noises make me flinch, and many, many much quieter ones … make me want to punch the wall … Strangers at the door make me nervous. Random conversation in the street makes me suspicious. … Thomas, aforementioned guardian, knows better than anyone how much I hate change in general and … Continue readings

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  For some reason, and please don’t ask me why, Queen’s ‘Another one bites the dust’ was going through my head as I read Overkill. On repeat. This was slightly off-putting, but strangely quite fitting given that the opening – probably one of the best, attention-grabbing first scenes of any book I’ve read recently – … Continue readings

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  This is an important year, the centenary of the introduction of the first vote for women in Britain. The vote – the privilege of being able to vote, to step forward and have a voice – is something to be celebrated, especially in these times of politically shifting sands. So, when I first heard … Continue readings

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  The Incendiaries, RO Kwon’s debut novel, is a restrained study of obsession, deceit, love and loss. Kwon’s characters, Will, Phoebe and John Leal, meet at an elite American university. Will and Phoebe are students there, John Leal, the arcane leader of a cult linked to North Korea who focuses his attention on recruiting Phoebe. … Continue readings

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  If you were to say that you were writing a book combining Sherlock Holmes, iconic filmmaker Billy Wilder and the Loch Ness Monster, set in London and Scotland, in two different time periods, I would probably wonder if the world had gone slightly mad – yet that’s exactly what novelist Patrick Kincaid has done … Continue readings

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  doppelgänger noun An apparition or double of a living person.“   The doppelgänger is a recurring device in popular culture, the duplicate other often featuring as part of some larger, nefarious plot – the rather creepy film The Double Man (1967) and Ira Levin’s excellent The Stepford Wives (1972) cases in point. Michael Redhill, … Continue readings

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  A great setting is important to any book, but in a work of crime fiction it is particularly so. In this, Sandra Ireland’s Bone Deep doesn’t disappoint: it has atmospheric locations in spades. A disused watermill lies at the heart of the book, a place suitably immersed in history and legend and bound up … Continue readings