No Nearer an Answer

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Did you, or did you not, devour every word reported during the trial of the two ten-year-old boys for the murder of the toddler James Bulger? If you did not, and were disgusted by those who did, labelling them ghouls, then you will think of this book about the case as some sort of depraved […]

A Drink with Dame Edith

Posted on by Tom Fleming

It was a summer day in 1957. I had published a novel, The Comforters, with some critical success. In the literary world of those days I had become the new young thing. In fact, I was not very young. I was in my late thirties. I had already published poems, stories and reviews, a critical […]

Black is not Jewish

Posted on by Tom Fleming

There is only one rule in postwar fiction: don’t write about the Holocaust unless you are sure you can do it well. You must do it so well that it lights up the darkest days of Europe’s history, so well that you are a spark of light in that dark. Measure your work, let’s say, […]

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Letter From Prague: Ivan Klima Describes how Pop Singers Threaten a Great Literary Tradition

Posted on by Tom Fleming

  Literature and in particular, writers have played an exceptional role in the history of the ·modern Czech nation. It was mainly writers who were responsible for the National Revival and the rebirth of the Czech language at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In this century’s atmosphere of strong nationalism, writers (often mediocre ones) […]

Whom God hath joined

Posted on by Tom Fleming

The fortunes of marriage go up and down, not just from era to era, but at different stages in people’s lives. Teenage children are dead against it they have seen their bickering parents. In their twenties they are still anti-marriage but rather like living together, while those left on the shelf in their middle thirties […]

Jeux d’esprit

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Someone was obviously producing this material, but their real object remained unclear. At times we nearly dismissed the whole affair as an elaborate joke, a hoax of extravagant proportions. If this were true, however … and if one invests so much time, energy and resources in a hoax, can it really be called a hoax […]

Louis XVIII’s Long-Lost Son is Found!

Posted on by Tom Fleming

It is Anne Edwards’s contention that Grace Kelly arrived just in time to save the House of Grimaldi. The same could be said of this book. She delays the hard part by opening with a chapter on the tragic death of Stefano Casiraghi, the husband of Princess Caroline. The Princess was apparently told the terrible […]

Mystery of Gargantua’s Top Secret Powder Puff

Posted on by Tom Fleming

When Robert Maxwell bought the Mirror Group, in July 1984, no commentator gave him a more enthusiastic or reckless welcome to the Street of Shame than Paul Johnson. ‘I don’t care a damn about his early business record or what the Board of Trade said about him umpteen years ago,’ Johnson roared in his Spectator […]

The Problem of Boredom in America

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Brian Master’s previous book about a homosexual serial killer, Killing for Company, has become – deservedly – a classic of criminology. Yet I never felt entirely happy about his account of Dennis Nilsen’s motivation: that the murders were due to his horror of being left alone. Would anyone really feel that a naked corpse made […]

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