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Ooh the rubble

Rosemary Hill: Churchill’s Cook, 16 July 2020

Victory in the Kitchen: The Life of Churchill’s Cook 
by Annie Gray.
Profile, 390 pp., £16.99, February, 978 1 78816 044 5
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... it may well also be the last, it’s fortunate that she has fallen into the sympathetic hands of Annie Gray. Gray is a food historian and she sets Landemare’s long life in the context of changes in diet and eating habits over nearly a century. The story that unfolds against this background takes us from her ...

Descent into Oddness

Dinah Birch: Peter Rushforth’s long-awaited second novel, 6 January 2005

Pinkerton’s Sister 
by Peter Rushforth.
Scribner, 729 pp., £18.99, September 2004, 0 7432 5235 7
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... it annoyed her even more that they were wrong about the attic. The mad wife in Jane Eyre, Dorian Gray’s portrait, and herself: all were thought to be locked away in an attic, and not one of them was . . . Charlotte Brontë was quite specific about where Bertha (Alice sometimes thought of Mrs Rochester by just her Christian name, as if she knew her ...

Well, was he?

A.N. Wilson, 20 June 1996

Bernard Shaw: The Ascent of the Superman 
by Sally Peters.
Yale, 328 pp., £18.95, April 1996, 0 300 06097 1
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... for free speech which came to be known as Bloody Sunday. The march set out from Clerkenwell Green, Annie Besant and Shaw being among the many who carried banners. Annie Besant, Eleanor Marx and the other leftist intellectuals remained for the duration of the demo, which was interrupted not merely by the police but also by ...

Orphans

Joan Aiken, 17 July 1980

... Little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue An’ the lampwick sputters, an’ the wind goes woo-oo, An’ you hear the crickets quit, an’ the moon is gray, An’ the lightning-bugs in dew is all squenched away – You better mind yer parents and yer teachers fond and dear An’ cherish them ’at loves you, an’ dry the orphant’s tear, An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ’at clusters all about Er the Gobble-uns’ll git you, ef you don’t watch out! James Whitcomb Riley, who wrote the above embarrassing and disgusting verse, was, of course, voicing what was, in the 19th century, considered a very proper and creditable sentiment ...

Bloodbaths

John Sutherland, 21 April 1988

Misery 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 320 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 340 39070 0
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The Tommyknockers 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 563 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 340 39069 7
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Touch 
by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 245 pp., £10.95, February 1988, 9780670816545
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Sideswipe 
by Charles Willeford.
Gollancz, 293 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 575 04197 8
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Ratking 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 282 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 571 15147 7
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... broken body is rescued by an eccentric recluse. She turns out to be a homicidal and crazy nurse, Annie Wilkes, who before retiring under something of a professional cloud killed 20 of her patients. But she is a devoted – not to say fanatical – fan of Sheldon’s bodice-ripper heroine, Misery Chastain. Unluckily, Sheldon has just killed off ...

Raven’s Odyssey

D.A.N. Jones, 19 July 1984

Swallow 
by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 312 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 575 03446 7
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First Among Equals 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 446 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 340 35266 3
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Morning Star 
by Simon Raven.
Blond and Briggs, 264 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 9780856341380
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... they protest? Why don’t they insist on erecting a cunt, in memory of – I don’t know – Annie Oakley, Marilyn Monroe, the witches of Salem?’ A little of this goes a long way; but D.M. Thomas goes from length to length. The Kennedys and Marilyn Monroe play no further part in Swallow. Another familiar mask is borrowed from American ...

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