The Blog


LESSONS OF WAR

After the last remnants of Daesh were mopped up at Baghuz, there remained the question of what to do about the surviving foreign fighters who had travelled to join them in such overwhelming numbers.  The following essay, which I wrote as the 2nd Gulf [...]

A MIND YOU COULD NEVER PREDICT

HECTOR BERLIOZ: A MIND YOU COULD NEVER PREDICT [This is the text of my review of The Selected Letters of Berlioz, edited Hugh MacDonald, which appeared in the Independent on Sunday on 30 July 1995.] Niccolò Paganini was a notorious tightwad, but he [...]

Life Changing Literature: Michel de Montaigne

My second second contribution to the Royal Literary Fund podcast series "Vox" came under the heading of "life-changing literature", for which I decided to speak about Michel de Montaigne. This sixteenth century French essayist possessed one of the mo [...]

Letter to myself aged seven

Some months ago I contributed two short essays to the writers' podcast "Vox", to be put out on the website of the Royal Literary Fund. A number of subjects were suggested  to us and the first that I chose was "A Letter to my Younger Self", in which I [...]

LET'S CALL IT CARE

  Some of the pet dogs in our street in North London have become disturbed by the rising number of urban foxes lurking in the bushes, mating noisily and raiding the bins in our back and front gardens. They make the dogs bark – and bark and bark – wh [...]

JUST THE WORDS

JONATHAN SWIFT’s advice in his essay ‘Letter to a Young Gentleman Lately Entered into Holy Orders’ (1721) was that ‘proper words in proper places, make the true definition of a style’. Behind this succinct formula lies a more complicated truth. To be [...]

The Georgians and Crimes Against Children

By today’s standards, the Georgian age, in which my Cragg and Fidelis mysteries are set, was a particularly callous one. Unequal rights for women, the slave trade and cruel capital punishment were all widely accepted, though not by all. My latest nov [...]

AUGUST CHALLENGE DAY 31

During August I set myself the task of visiting a different art exhibition every day and blogging about it. Mission accomplished! This was the last day. Monday 31 August Exhibition: 'Poor man's picture gallery': Victorian Art and Stereoscopic Phot [...]

AUGUST CHALLENGE DAY 30

For the silly season I've given myself the task of visiting a different art exhibition on every day of August and writing a blog about it. Sunday 30 August Exhibition: The Campbell Sisters Dancing the Waltz Place: The Victoria and Albert Museum   [...]

AUGUST CHALLENGE DAY 29

For the silly season I've set myself the challenge of visiting a different art exhibition on every day of August and writing a blog about it. Saturday 29 August Exhibition: Wildlife Photographer of the Year Place: Natural History Museum Photograph [...]
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