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Marksmanship

John Sutherland, 14 November 1996

From Potter’s Field 
by Patricia Cornwell.
Warner, 405 pp., £5.99, June 1996, 0 7515 1630 9
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Cause of Death 
by Patricia Cornwell.
Little, Brown, 342 pp., £9.99, October 1996, 0 316 87885 5
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... Earlier this year it was announced that Patricia Cornwell, America’s newest Queen of Crime, had defected from Scribner (the publisher who ‘discovered’ her) to Putnam. In defiance of trade courtesy, Cornwell bad-mouthed Scribner unmercifully on leaving: they had never pushed her books hard enough, she was reported as claiming, treating her like some ‘midlist author ...

Who was he?

Charles Nicholl: Joe the Ripper, 7 February 2008

The Fox and the Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath 
by Charles van Onselen.
Cape, 672 pp., £20, April 2007, 978 0 224 07929 7
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... Walter Sickert. Sickert’s candidacy has been energetically championed by the thriller-writer Patricia Cornwell, though she did not originate the theory. Sickert had a louche interest in the London underworld, and in the Ripper in particular, and he did a series of paintings, the ‘Camden Town Nudes’, loosely inspired by the murder of a prostitute ...

Rebusworld

John Lanchester: The Rise and Rise of Ian Rankin, 27 April 2000

Set in Darkness 
by Ian Rankin.
Orion, 415 pp., £16.99, February 2000, 0 7528 2129 6
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... of achievement; but that is actually a rare event. Most genre writers, from Alistair MacLean to Patricia Cornwell, go off badly once they succeed. Rankin’s standards have only got higher as his books have done better. It must be a Calvinist thing. As, indeed, is Rankin’s chief creation, DI Rebus himself. In my notes for this piece I reminded myself ...

Uncle Max

Patricia Craig, 20 December 1984

The man who was M: The Life of Maxwell Knight 
by Anthony Masters.
Blackwell, 205 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 631 13392 5
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Unreliable Witness: Espionage Myths of the Second World War 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 166 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 297 78481 1
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The Great Betrayal: The Untold Story of Kim Philby’s Biggest Coup 
by Nicholas Bethell.
Hodder, 214 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 340 35701 0
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... knew one another, but doesn’t see fit to add that le Carré – under his real name, David Cornwell – illustrated one or two of Knight’s post-war publications (e.g. Talking Birds, 1961): a not uninteresting detail in a story that includes spies and intrigues among its ingredients, just as le Carré’s do. Then, there’s an episode concerning Joan ...

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