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by Richard Ingrams.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 144 pp., £4.25
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... It was for services ‘to exports and ecology’ that Sir James Goldsmith was nominated for a peerage, and then demoted to a knight by the Scrutiny Committee, in what is bitterly remembered as the Wilson Honours List. Was there a connection between Sir James’s elevation and his year-long battle to punish Private Eye and jail its editor, Richard Ingrams – an effort which was supported by Wilson and Lady Falkender, both victims of Ingrams’s harassment, and which petered out in a relatively painless settlement in 1976? Ingrams’s theory is that there was such a connection ...

Supreme Kidnap

James Fox, 20 March 1980

Fortune’s Hostages 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Hamish Hamilton, 256 pp., £8.95, January 1980, 0 241 10320 7
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... The readers of the Italian weekly L’Espresso (swaying in the breeze like a field of ripe corn) were treated, in their issue of 20 January, to a new form of journalistic entertainment – a media package for the Eighties. Wrapped into the cellophane cover was a gramophone record, featuring a conversation between a member of the Red Brigades and Aldo Moro’s daughter, in which she is given one last chance for her father’s release ...


James Fox: On Drum Magazine, 8 March 1990

... A week after Mandela’s release I got a call from Jim Bailey, my former employer on Drum Magazine in Johannesburg where I worked in the late Sixties. He had been elated by the news and set about gathering old Drum hands and sympathisers for a reunion. But by the time we met, he confessed to a sudden weariness, a kind of post partum depression after the forty years of toil and tension ...

Poor Stephen

James Fox, 23 July 1987

An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward 
by Phillip Knightley and Caroline Kennedy.
Cape, 268 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 224 02347 0
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Honeytrap: The Secret Worlds of Stephen Ward 
by Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril.
Weidenfeld, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 297 79122 2
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... the Times, Lords Hailsham, Drogheda, Carrington, Goodman and Weinstock, and Messrs Roy Jenkins and James Prior, said they felt it was a good time, in view of the new publicity about the Ward case, to place on record their sense of admiration for the dignity and courage displayed by Mr and Mrs John Profumo and their family in the quarter-century since the ...

Silly Buggers

James Fox, 7 March 1991

The Theatre of Embarrassment 
by Francis Wyndham.
Chatto, 205 pp., £15, February 1991, 0 7011 3726 6
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... white witch of the Palais Royal, most earthy of oracles’) and in pieces on Updike, Balzac, Henry James, written with an authority and perception based on lifelong intimacy. He applied the same seriousness with which he encouraged new writers to reviving the careers of older ones – such as Jean Rhys – and restoring writers consigned by accident or ...

Lucky’s Dip

James Fox, 12 November 1987

Trail of Havoc: In the Steps of Lord Lucan 
by Patrick Marnham.
Viking, 204 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 670 81391 5
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Lucan: Not Guilty 
by Sally Moore.
Sidgwick, 271 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 9780283995361
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... There is enough forensic evidence lying around to construct any number of theories, from either point of view. Was it, or was it not, Lord Lucan who murdered the nanny Sandra Rivett? In the 13 years since she was found in the US mailbag at 46 Lower Belgrave Street in London there has been no new evidence. Patrick Marnham’s only novelty is the evidence from Taki, the Spectator gossip-columnist, to the effect that he knew Lucky Lucan had a powerboat and had made dummy runs with an eight-stone sack to the coast ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: The State of Statuary, 21 September 2017

... Most days​ I eat my lunch sitting under the statue of Charles James Fox in Bloomsbury Square. There are broad steps on each side of the statue, their Portland stone now stained an aqueous green, and I like to sit beneath and between Fox’s feet, looking, with him, down Bedford Place and towards Russell Square ...

Happy Valleys

Dan Jacobson, 18 November 1982

White Mischief 
by James Fox.
Cape, 293 pp., £8.95, November 1982, 0 224 01731 4
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Earth to Earth 
by John Cornwell.
Allen Lane, 174 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 7139 1045 3
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... by most of those who had previously been his friends, he commits suicide. Thirty years later James Fox gets together with Cyril Connolly (whom he describes as a ‘revered luminary of the world of letters’) and writes an article on the murder for the Sunday Times Magazine. A further decade passes and Fox writes ...

Greatest Genius

Frances Harris, 23 July 1992

Charles James Fox 
by L.G Mitchell.
Oxford, 338 pp., £25, June 1992, 0 19 820104 4
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... Charles James Fox was early hailed as ‘the phenomenon of the age’: an Infant Phenomenon like his chief opponent and perfect foil, William Pitt, who, Fox’s mother is said to have predicted, would be ‘a thorn in Charles’s side as long as he lives’. David Hume, encountering Fox at 16 during one of his formative visits to Paris, was startled by his intellectual power and maturity and already foresaw him as ‘a very great acquisition to the publick’, if the lure of a life of cosmopolitan dissipation, already strong on him, did not distract him ...

Waldorf’s Birthday Present

Gabriele Annan: The Lovely Langhornes, 7 January 1999

The Langhorne Sisters 
by James Fox.
Granta, 612 pp., £20, November 1998, 1 86207 071 7
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... from coast to coast, she never got divorced and never gave any trouble, so she doesn’t come into James Fox’s story much; and neither does the eldest Langhorne sister Lizzie. Lizzie just got on the others’ nerves and was poor. There were also three brothers, but they don’t come into the story at all. They drank a lot, as did many Southern gentlemen ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Servant’, 9 May 2013

The Servant 
directed by Joseph Losey.
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... and newspapers. It seems empty when Bogarde gets there, but he finds the owner, Tony, played by James Fox, asleep in the kitchen after a few beers too many at lunch. What Bogarde wants is a job, and he gets one. But the house becomes part of his wanting on first sight. And it’s tempting to think the question, like so much of what happens in the ...

From Old Adam to New Eve

Peter Pulzer, 6 June 1985

The Conservative Party from Peel to Thatcher 
by Robert Blake.
Methuen/Fontana, 401 pp., £19.95, May 1985, 0 413 58140 3
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Westminster Blues 
by Julian Critchley.
Hamish Hamilton, 134 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 241 11387 3
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... dates the origins of the British party system, whether with the attempt to exclude the Catholic James from the succession to Charles II, with the rivalry between the Younger Pitt and Charles James Fox, or with the battle over Parliamentary Reform in the 1830s – Lord Blake prefers the second of these – it is ...

Never Mainline

Jenny Diski: Keith Richards, 16 December 2010

by Keith Richards, with James Fox.
Weidenfeld, 564 pp., £20, October 2010, 978 0 297 85439 5
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... whiner.’ In fact, Mr Richards doesn’t write at all. The author produced the book ‘with James Fox’, a journalist and friend of Richards’s, but we aren’t told how the collaboration worked. I’d guess that Keith talked into a recorder over a long period of time, prompted and unprompted by his ghost-writer, and then ...

Death in Belgravia

Rosemary Hill, 5 February 2015

A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan 
by Laura Thompson.
Head of Zeus, 422 pp., £20, November 2014, 978 1 78185 536 2
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... there is no difficulty, as Thompson points out, in reinterpreting it as a Downton Abbey affair. James Fox’s articles in the Sunday Times and the New Review saw in it the ‘whole waterlogged English class system’ sinking under its own weight. But the system has proved remarkably buoyant. Old Etonians and alumni of the Bullingdon Club continue to ...

Coalition Monsters

Colin Kidd, 6 March 2014

In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition Government 
by Matthew D’Ancona.
Penguin, 414 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 670 91993 2
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... associations of the term ‘coalition’ are deep-rooted in British politics. The short-lived Fox-North coalition of 1783 became a byword for low cynicism and a willingness to seize power at whatever cost. According to George III, it was ‘the most daring and unprincipled faction that the annals of the kingdom ever produced’. Military defeat in the ...

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