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25 February 1993
Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... a narrative that persuades because it has all the qualities of good genre fiction. It is brisk, sharp-eyed, dramatic – and it guides outsiders through a previously prohibited landscape. Without CarolClerk’s assistance in shaping his autobiography, Lambrianou’s reputation would have been left to the mercy of several stridently unsympathetic witnesses. Charles Kray (in Me and My Brothers) saw ...

You, Him, Whoever

Philip Connors: Anthony Giardina’s new novel

7 September 2006
White Guys 
by Anthony Giardina.
Heinemann, 371 pp., £11.99, August 2006, 0 434 01605 5
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... American middle-class innocence: Kenny, Johnny, Freddie. Only one of them, Billy Mogavero, is left behind. Billy went to jail for assaulting a cop, and now he is stuck in Winship, working as a clerk in a paint store. The lever of the plot tips when, years having passed, the group pays Billy a visit, and Kenny offers him a job, in an effort to lift him out of what they all perceive as an ...

‘I was such a lovely girl’

Barbara Newman: The Songs of the Medieval Troubadours

25 May 2006
Lark in the Morning: The Verses of the Troubadours 
translated by Ezra Pound, W.D. Snodgrass and Robert Kehew, edited by Robert Kehew.
Chicago, 280 pp., £35, May 2005, 0 226 42933 4
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Medieval Lyric: Middle English Lyrics, Ballads and Carols 
edited by John Hirsh.
Blackwell, 220 pp., £17.99, August 2004, 1 4051 1482 7
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An Anthology of Ancient and Medieval Woman’s Song 
edited by Anne Klinck.
Palgrave, 208 pp., £19.99, May 2004, 9781403963109
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... now, Sowle, assaye,Quia amore langueo. Sometimes half-remembered pagan lore can be glimpsed behind the Christian symbols, which are themselves masked in chivalric dress. The familiar Corpus Christi carol is presumably about the eucharist, but takes the form of an eerie lullaby about a falcon, a bleeding knight, a weeping maid and (in some versions) their faithful dog. This carol, like some of the ...

Amazing Sushi

Jessica Olin: Nani Power

23 August 2001
Crawling at Night 
by Nani Power.
Heinemann, 234 pp., £9.99, July 2001, 0 434 00856 7
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... King’s penchant for fried peanut butter sandwiches. Ton journeyed to the United States on a refugee boat in his mother’s belly, while on deck his father’s brain swelled up from encephalitis. Carol, Ton’s mother, has cared for him on her own for twenty years, finding comfort in her Bible study with the Vietnamese Ladies Coalition, but is still visited by the troubled spirit of her husband ...

Writing French in English

Helen Cooper: Chaucer’s Language

7 October 2010
TheFamiliar Enemy: Chaucer, Language and Nation in the Hundred Years War 
by Ardis Butterfield.
Oxford, 444 pp., £60, December 2009, 978 0 19 957486 5
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... that he was writing macaronics – those poems that combine two or more languages within a single verse form – only in a single language. Most of us will be most familiar with macaronics through a carol such as ‘In Dulci Jubilo’, where the languages not only alternate but interlock grammatically (‘Our delight and pleasure/Lies in praesepio’); medieval England regularly offered a much denser ...

Unsluggardised

Charles Nicholl: ‘The Shakespeare Circle’

18 May 2016
The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography 
edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells.
Cambridge, 358 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 1 107 69909 0
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... Shakespeare’s at the local grammar school. He left in 1580, at the age of 18, to serve as an apprentice to a French immigrant printer in the Blackfriars, Thomas Vautrollier. In her essay on Field, Carol Chillington Rutter observes that printers’ and booksellers’ apprentices listed in the Stationers’ Register at this time came from ‘York, Wiltshire, Lincoln, Salop, Surrey [and] Flint’, and ...

In His Pink Negligée

Colm Tóibín: The Ruthless Truman Capote

21 April 2005
The Complete Stories 
by Truman Capote.
Random House, 400 pp., $24.95, September 2004, 0 679 64310 9
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Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote 
edited by Gerald Clarke.
Random House, 487 pp., $27.95, September 2004, 0 375 50133 9
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... book – him and his homosexual affairs that were only “undertaken in a spirit of opportunism”. I’ll say. Seriously though, it makes me hopping mad.’ Two years later he saw The Confidential Clerk in London: ‘Confidential Jerk is a better title for a very dreary item indeed.’ In 1961, he wrote to Beaton about La Dolce Vita: ‘Honestly, my sweet, how could you have liked it? So pretentious ...

Little Miss Neverwell

Hilary Mantel: Her memoir continued

23 January 2003
... office, conveying clients’ houses – wasn’t it just what people needed, at such a stressful time in their lives, to have the services of someone very conscientious, like me? I could see her: a clerk very conscientious and quiet and dull, who wore snuff-coloured garb and filed herself in a cabinet every night and whose narrow heart fluttered when anyone mentioned a flying freehold or an ancient ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett

24 June 1993
... based on the manuscript note supposedly recorded during the interview. The interview took place in Woking Police Station on 7 December 1974. The first question runs: Sit down J weve spoken to Pad & Carol & they have put U right in it. & said U were involved in bombing the 7 Stars PH in gld at 9:30 pm on 5 Oct 75 In the typed police witness statement the ‘contemporaneous’ manuscript is rendered ...

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