Raison de Mourir

Peter Ackroyd

  • The Mad Bad Line by Brian Roberts
    Hamish Hamilton, 319 pp, £15.00, July 1981, ISBN 0 241 10637 0

The Douglas were interesting only in death: the book opens with a suicide, and closes with the glimpse of a putative heaven in which Lord Alfred Douglas and his father are reconciled, like Belial and Mammon. In life, they were a family of sportsmen whose only sport was self-interest, who made up in neuroses what they lacked in achievement, who relied upon ferocity rather than feeling. Without the light which the falling Oscar distributed upon them, they would have remained in obscurity.

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