I was not expecting much from Richard Anderson’s Bespoke. The accompanying press release from the publisher carried an endorsement from that cynosure of male style, that arbiter elegantiarum, Simon Cowell. Moreover, the word ‘bespoke’ is now so overused that it risks becoming utterly exhausted; everything these days is bespoke – it is the Pierre Cardin of adjectives applied indiscriminately in the hope that a little bit of its magic will stick.
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'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.
'We have all twenty-nine of her Barsetshire novels, and whenever a certain longing reaches critical mass we read all twenty-nine again, straight through.'
Patricia T O'Conner on her love for Angela Thirkell. (£)