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Fear and Loathing in Los Alamos

John Ziman, 4 September 1986

Bird of Passage: Recollections of a Physicist 
by Rudolf Peierls.
Princeton, 350 pp., £21.20, January 1986, 0 691 08390 8
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A Life in Science 
by Nevill Mott.
Taylor and Francis, 198 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 85066 333 4
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Stallion Gate 
by Martin CruzSmith.
Collins Harvill, 287 pp., £10.95, May 1986, 0 00 222727 4
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Day of the Bomb: Hiroshima 1945 
by Dan Kurzman.
Weidenfeld, 546 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 297 78862 0
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Assessing the Nuclear Age 
edited by Len Ackland and Steven McGuire.
Chicago, 382 pp., £21.25, July 1986, 0 941682 07 2
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... war to be won or lost. And don’t ever forget the villain who is secretly betraying them all. Martin CruzSmith is an enthralling storyteller, but uses the authentic drama of Los Alamos only as the dynamic setting for a more earthy melodrama in which the historical characters are little more than cardboard ...

Injury Time

Robert Taubman, 2 July 1981

Gorky Park 
by Martin CruzSmith.
Collins, 365 pp., £6.95, May 1981, 0 00 222278 7
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The Turn-Around 
by Vladimir Volkoff, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Bodley Head, 411 pp., £6.95, April 1981, 0 370 30323 7
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Thus was Adonis murdered 
by Sarah Caudwell.
Collins, 246 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 00 231854 7
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A Splash of Red 
by Antonia Fraser.
Weidenfeld, 229 pp., £5.95, May 1981, 0 297 77937 0
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... Between the three corpses dug out of the snow in Gorky Park, Moscow and the sables let loose in the snow on Staten Island at the end – ‘black on white, black on white, and then gone’ – there are connections of cause and effect such as few crime novels have ever had to cope with. Gorky Park is a long novel because it tries to deal as fully with Moscow as Simenon’s novels with Paris or Chandler’s with Los Angeles ...

Hanging out with Higgins

Michael Wood, 7 December 1989

Silent Partner 
by Jonathan Kellerman.
Macdonald, 506 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 356 17598 7
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‘Murder will out’: The Detective in Fiction 
by T.J. Binyon.
Oxford, 166 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 9780192192233
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Devices and Desires 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 408 pp., £11.99, October 1989, 0 571 14178 1
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Killshot 
by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 287 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 0 670 82258 2
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Trust 
by George V. Higgins.
Deutsch, 213 pp., £11.95, November 1989, 0 233 98513 1
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Polar Star 
by Martin CruzSmith.
Collins Harvill, 373 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 0 00 271269 5
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... us) that it’s interesting. In this novel, as in Gorky Park, a certain dullness is part of Cruz Smith’s idea of Russianness. Renko’s integrity is attractive in its rigid way, but I’d rather hang out with Higgins’s ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Literary Prizes, 10 May 2001

... giving a voice to the voiceless.) Reincarnated as a film tie-in with Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz picturesquely clinching on the cover, Captain Corelli is now bludgeoning its way back up the charts. But even for those novels not fortunate enough to have their cud chewed by Hollywood (Joanne Harris’s backlist, incidentally, is selling like hot ...

Mrs Perfect Awful

Mary Lefkowitz, 17 May 1984

Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behaviour 
by Judith Martin.
Hamish Hamilton, 745 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 241 11100 5
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Gilbert: A Comedy of Manners 
by Judith Martin.
Hamish Hamilton, 303 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 241 11157 9
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... who one would have thought might have been pleased to remain in such a luscious spot as Santa Cruz, California, actually wants to move back. Until recently, there was no ready means of persuading the doubting English that most middle and upper-class. Americans follow routines and conventions that most English people of similar background, were they to be ...

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