ONLY THREE PEOPLE know how nine-year-old Louis Drax came to fall down a mountain ravine in the Auvergne. ‘Of those, one could never know the full truth. One was hiding from it. And the third was dead.’ From this starting point, Liz Jensen develops a compelling tale of suspense and detection, largely set in the coma clinic in Provence where Louis lies – having originally been certified as dead. In fact he has miraculously survived the accident, just as he survived eight earlier ones, including his apparent cot death, falling onto the electrified tracks of the Lyon metro, and salmonella.
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'Thirkell was a product of her time and her class. For her there are no sacred cows, barring those that win ribbons at the Barchester Agricultural.'
The novelist Angela Thirkell is due a revival, says Patricia T O'Conner (£).
'Only in Britain, perhaps, could spy chiefs – conventionally viewed as masters of subterfuge – be so highly regarded as ethical guides.'
In this month's Bookends, @AdamCSDouglas looks at the curious life of Henry Labouchere: a friend of Bram Stoker, 'loose cannon', and architect of the law that outlawed homosexual activity in Britain.