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literato (hampshire)

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A Voyage Round John Mortimer
A Voyage Round John Mortimer
by Valerie Grove
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully clever, 20 Nov. 2007
It must be difficult to write the biography of a living 'national treasure' - the temptation to eulogize must be enormous! But Valerie Grove does something very clever. She gives us the familiar image of John Mortimer, all Rumpolean and Rabelaisean, but all the time she subtly undercuts it so that you are aware of Mortimer's serious shortcomings. She isn't judgmental, but nor is she deceived. Her book has a truly adult understanding of how and why people behave as they do - why, for instance, Mortimer had so many love affairs! - and I really liked that. Above all, though, this biography is an incredibly good read, full of jokes and entertainment. The sheer vitality of Mortimer and his set comes across and it delights you. Highly recommended.


Agatha Christie: An English Mystery
Agatha Christie: An English Mystery
by Laura Thompson
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars getting behind the 'cosy' image, 24 Oct. 2007
I LOVED this book. Was slightly dubious about reading it (it was bought for me because I like detective fiction etc) as I've always thought that Agatha herself was a bit of an old bore - ! This biography cracked the nice middle-class lady facade and showed somebody passionate, vulnerable and not cosy at all. Like other reviewers I disagreed with some of the things in the book but it was good to find opinions in a biography, rather than just a lot of facts. Next time I watch a 'Poirot' on TV I shall certainly be thinking of Agatha Christie in a very different way.


GORSE TRILOGY, THE - The West Pier; Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse; Unknown Assailant
GORSE TRILOGY, THE - The West Pier; Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse; Unknown Assailant
by Patrick Hamilton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.46

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bleak genius, 24 Oct. 2007
I totally agree with Nemo about 'Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse'. It is funny beyond belief and so wonderfully cynical - or realistic, in my opinion - about human nature. No redemption possible for these characters - ! which is incredibly refreshing and, somehow, adult to read. Having read pretty much all his work I think that Hamilton is one of the great stylists of the twentieth century. Hard to recommend him highly enough.


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