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Make mine a Worcester Sauce

John Bayley, 23 June 1994

Richard Hughes 
by Richard Perceval Graves.
Deutsch, 491 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 233 98843 2
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... Four possible candidates, varying in attainments, would be T.E. Lawrence, Robert Graves, Peter Fleming (perhaps both Flemings) and Richard Hughes. It makes no difference that Lawrence was half-Irish, the Flemings mostly Scottish, and Hughes partly Welsh. The presidential or father figure of the group would be John Buchan, another Scot, whose ...

In the Hands of Any Fool

Walter Gratzer, 3 July 1997

A Short History of Cardiology 
by Peter Fleming.
Rodopi, 234 pp., £53.50, April 1997, 90 420 0048 1
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... been incorrectly diagnosed and of the wrong answers half had come from specialists in cardiology. Peter Fleming’s absorbing history does not contain this sobering information, but then it stops at 1970 – and on an upbeat note, with the introduction of cyclosporin, the immunosuppressant drug, and an improved outlook for heart transplant patients. What ...

Short Cuts

Paul Myerscough: The Pret Buzz, 3 January 2013

... of straitened material circumstances outside it. ‘Henceforth,’ as Carl Cederström and Peter Fleming put it in their recent jeremiad Dead Man Working (Zero, £9.99), ‘our authenticity is no longer a retreat from the mandatory fakeness’ of the workplace, ‘but the very medium through which work squeezes the life out of us’. To guard ...

Our chaps will deal with them

E.S. Turner: The Great Flap of 1940, 8 August 2002

Dad’s Army: The Story of a Classic Television Show 
by Graham McCann.
Fourth Estate, 304 pp., £7.99, August 2002, 1 84115 309 5
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... a 15-year-old, adds wire cheese-cutters and sharpened bicycle chains to the list. ‘In Essex,’ Peter Fleming says in Invasion 1940, ‘an unexpected windfall made possible the formation of a cutlass platoon, 24 strong, under the command of a former naval rating.’ He also tells how ‘four dozen rusty Lee Enfields, relics of some forgotten tableau or ...

Blacks and Blues

E.S. Turner, 4 June 1987

The Life of My Choice 
by Wilfred Thesiger.
Collins, 459 pp., £15, May 1987, 9780002161947
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Worlds Apart: Travels in War and Peace 
by Gavin Young.
Hutchinson, 344 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 09 168220 7
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... him among little men in the rain forests. If he ever yearned for a Brazilian adventure, in the Peter Fleming style, he does not mention it. Worlds Apart is a round-up of Observer travel pieces, along with miscellaneous interviews, a few of them suffering from the march of time. The scene ranges from Nagaland to Vietnam, from Cuba to Taiwan. It is a ...

Enfield was nothing

P.N. Furbank: Norman Lewis, 18 December 2003

The Tomb in Seville 
by Norman Lewis.
Cape, 150 pp., £14.99, November 2003, 0 224 07120 3
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... personal adventures and escapes’ – the very things which, for good or evil, Evelyn Waugh and Peter Fleming and Robert Byron, not to mention Redmond O’Hanlon, assume to be the heart of travel writing. This leads us to the reflection that travel writing, or anyway the best sort, only pretends to be informative. The author, out of self-respect, and ...

Zest

David Reynolds: The Real Mrs Miniver, 25 April 2002

The Real Mrs Miniver 
by Ysenda Maxtone Graham.
Murray, 314 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 0 7195 5541 8
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Mrs Miniver 
by Jan Struther.
Virago, 153 pp., £7.99, November 2001, 1 85381 090 8
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... 1936 they had to abandon Chelsea for something more modest. At this low moment Joyce was asked by Peter Fleming, then a leader-writer on the Times, to help enliven the Court Page, whose only light relief from the comings and goings at the Palace was a series of articles about flora and fauna – ‘Woody Plants for Limey Soil’ or ‘Family Cares of the ...

Sticky Wicket

Charles Nicholl: Colonel Fawcett’s Signet Ring, 28 May 2009

The Lost City of Z 
by David Grann.
Simon and Schuster, 339 pp., £16.99, February 2009, 978 1 84737 436 3
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... in which some English newspaper does not make an apocryphal reference to the lost explorer,’ Peter Fleming (brother of Ian) wrote in the early 1930s. ‘Fresh rumours are always coming in, fresh expeditions are always on the point of starting.’ Fleming was himself part of one, and wrote about it in Brazilian ...

Snug

John Bayley, 9 September 1993

The Life of Ian Fleming 
by Donald McCormick.
Peter Owen, 231 pp., £18.50, July 1993, 0 7206 0888 0
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... just like sitting down to tea in the nursery. Something like that seems to have gone on with Ian Fleming. One could hardly say that his fantasy life with James Bond was a case of straightforward compensation. Employers courted him; he charmed the bosses; girls fell over each other to get to bed with him. Or so it seemed, and still seems to his latest ...

Florey Story

Peter Medawar, 20 December 1979

Howard Florey: The Making of a Great Scientist 
by Gwyn Macfarlane.
Oxford, 396 pp., £7.95
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... with the notion of a biography, they wondered if he would not do better to write on Alexander Fleming instead. This, Macfarlane surmises, was because the public had already cast Fleming as the hero of the great penicillin story: he was a closer approximation than Howard Florey to the public’s stereotype of a great ...

Lady Rothermere’s Fan

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 7 November 1985

The Letters of Ann Fleming 
edited by Mark Amory.
Collins, 448 pp., £16.50, October 1985, 0 00 217059 0
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... We missed you at Chantilly,’ Ann Fleming wrote to Evelyn Waugh in 1956, after she’d been to visit Diana Cooper in France. ‘Mr Gaitskell came to lunch and fell in love with Diana ... He had never seen cocktails with mint in them or a magnum of pink champagne. He was very happy. I lied and told him that all the upper class were beautiful and intelligent and he must not allow his vermin to destroy them ...

Bond in Torment

John Lanchester: James Bond, 5 September 2002

From Russia with Love, Dr No and Goldfinger 
by Ian Fleming.
Penguin, 640 pp., £10.99, April 2002, 0 14 118680 1
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... tells himself about halfway through From Russia with Love, the fifth and perhaps the best of Ian Fleming’s thrillers. This sounds like good advice, but it does raise one large issue: what exactly counts as being ‘pickled’? Flying from London to Istanbul – the journey in the course of which Bond indulges in these reflections – Bond drinks ‘two ...

Being all right, and being wrong

Barbara Everett, 12 July 1990

Miscellaneous Verdicts: Writings on Writers 1946-1989 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 501 pp., £20, May 1990, 9780434599288
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Haydn and the Valve Trumpet 
by Craig Raine.
Faber, 498 pp., £20, June 1990, 0 571 15084 5
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... will sometimes metamorphose inside themselves. ‘In the early Thirties, no writer did more than Peter Fleming (1907-71) to convince older people that the younger generation was “all right”.’ It is a serviceable formula, and its use couldn’t be called sardonic. But impassivity here reaches the level of art. Being ‘all right’, or being ...

Durability

Peter Lamarque, 15 September 1983

The Critical Historians of Art 
by Michael Podro.
Yale, 257 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 300 02862 8
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A World History of Art 
by Hugh Honour and John Fleming.
Macmillan, 639 pp., £17.50, September 1982, 0 333 23583 5
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The Test of Time: An Essay in Philosophical Aesthetics 
by Anthony Savile.
Oxford, 319 pp., £20, July 1982, 0 19 824590 4
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... this writer’s considerable output. Two contemporary English art historians, Hugh Honour and John Fleming, have produced a monumental work of retrieval, systematic certainly, but without the ambition for philosophical synthesis of their German predecessors. They bring to A World History of Art a depth of knowledge and erudition that affords an effortless ...

Quarrelling

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 29 October 1987

Tears before Bedtime 
by Barbara Skelton.
Hamish Hamilton, 205 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 241 12326 7
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In the Pink 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Bloomsbury, 164 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7475 0050 9
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... You must explain to me why Cyril wants Barbara,’ Evelyn Waugh wrote to Ann Fleming in September 1955, a year after Barbara Skelton’s marriage to Cyril Connolly had formally ended. ‘It’s not as though she were rich or a good housekeeper or the mother of his children.’ The following year Edmund Wilson asked Connolly, now two years into his divorce, why he didn’t get someone else ...

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