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Book reviews

Mr Churchill’s Driver - A murderer’s story, Colin Farrington, Matador Pubishing 2017

The cover notes for this intriguing novel compare the author, Colin Farrington, to Peter Ackroyd or Ian McEwan. This is unfair to all three. Farrington’s talent is sufficiently distinctive to be judged on its own merits. Like many subscribers to The Journal I am a fast reader. On holiday I …
Sherlock Holmes and the Nine-Dragon Sigil
 
by Tim Symonds.MX Publishing, 364 pages, paperback

“Sigil. Pronounced ‘sijil’. An inscribed or painted symbol or occult sign considered to have magical power.” So begins the very latest Sherlock Holmes mystery and adventure from the pen of Institute member, Tim Symonds: a writer who has immersed himself in the drama and legend of England and the Empire’s …
BeforeSpin

by Keith McDowall, published by Melrose Books, 385pp, £16.99 When I joined the Government Information Service (GIS in 1964, Keith McDowall was the Daily Mail’s Industrial Editor.  I first came across him when I was working in the Press Office of the newly formed Ministry of Technology the following year.  …

How many of you have separate passwords for each website that you access?  Not many, I bet, although security experts all say avoid using the same password over and over again.  The problem for us all is remembering different passwords without committing the dreaded sin of writing them down. Well …
Sherlock Holmes and The Sword of Osman By Tim Symonds, MX Publishing, 230pp, £8.99, paperback.

The Magus-like figure of Sherlock Holmes – the inscrutable detective, almost superhuman in his intellect and asceticism – has caught the imagination of writers, dramatists, film-makers, and a worldwide readership. The London fogs of the Victorian-Edwardian era, the bizarre mysteries which they conceal, Holmes’s extraordinary ability to see beyond the …
The Chinese Magus By Richard Yeo, Top Hat Books, 310 pages, paperback, £11.99.

In ancient China, Governor Xiang Li contemplates his realm, his administration, his philosophy – and the heavens. An astronomer, he regularly escapes from day-to-day cares via an “inner kingdom” – a rose-scented, turret enclave in semi-darkness at the end of a long, spiral staircase. A servant, Kwon Ru, has placed …
Charles Emmerson, Vintage Books, paperback, 528 pages,

“At Easter 1913 Tsar Nicholas ll gave his wife Alexandra a remarkable present: a golden Fabergé egg. Its exterior was sumptuously decorated with golden double-headed eagles, imperial crowns and eighteen exquisite miniature portraits of the Tsars and Tsarinas of the Romanov dynasty stretching back to Nicholas’ distant forebear Tsar Michael, …