Is the world too weary for another biography of Noel Coward? There was Sheridan Morley’s official tome during the old boy’s lifetime. And I seem to remember Morley titillating it up a bit after his death; but I could be wrong. Then there was Cole Lesley aka Leslie Cole’s pleasant, insider’s Life, an illustrated book by Charles Castle, and the Diaries. At some time William Marchaunt’s eccentric memoir arrived on my bookshelves, followed by My Life with Noel Coward, a charming and surprising evocation of their shared life by Graham Payn, who first met Coward when he was a precocious juvenile and years later, in the Forties, became his lover and then his companion and a key permanent member of his circle.
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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. (£)