FFB: A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark

I don’t know why I put this off so long: maybe it was knowing it was set in the publishing world. That sort of roman à clef doesn’t usually appeal to me much — possibly because there is nothing much that will surprise me about the publishing world anymore. But dashing off on the train to…

FFB: The Comforters by Muriel Spark

I have been filling in some of the holes I didn’t even know I had in my readings of Spark on her 100th birthday year. I have not been disappointed. Don’t make my mistake: read everything of hers. Compounding the audacity of The Driver’s Seat (which really every crime writer needs to read especially) I at…

FFB: The Driver’s Seat – Muriel Spark

Was she asking for it? Was she asking nice? If she was asking for it, Did she ask you twice? Hole – Asking For It It seems redundant to call this a lean novel from Spark — her novels are singularly lean. I always feel as if they have been sanded fine. I’ve been on…

FFB: Bill Crider’s Sherlock

Thanks to Patti and Todd for cajoling me into doing this special round of FFB. Many of you know that Bill Crider is doing poorly, so it’s great to have a chance to celebrate him and his vast catalogue of work while he can still appreciate our accolades. It’s always a joy to celebrate someone…

FFB: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Although a classic I’d not read this novel before, but stumbling across it at the Oxfam Bookshop this winter, I found the combination of the title and the folk horror revival vibe in Michael Heslop’s cover irresistible. Will is the seventh son of a seventh son, which he did not know as one of his…

FFB: Porterhouse Blue – Tom Sharpe

I have been thinking about academic novels lately because I am — much as I swore never to do so — working on a roman à clef called Hire Idiots (the topic of which ought to be abundantly clear). I taught Lucky Jim in my senior seminar and enjoyed my students’ reactions to it. I’ve…

FFB: Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes

For some reason, I had not noticed before Peter Cook’s sister saying that their favourite childhood book was Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes by Harry Graham. It much reminded me of our childhood fave Shrieks at Midnight so I had to get a copy. And of course it’s delightful. Check out all the other overlooked…

FFB: The Devil’s Mistress

The Devil’s Mistress J. W. Brodie-Innes The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult Sphere 1974 (original novel 1915) I taught a course on witchcraft and the witch hunts in the fall semester. Don’t ask me what took so long to get around to it. As usual with new courses I stuffed far too much into…

FFB: Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

I know, I know — when you suggest a classic author for FFB a lot of people will roll their eyes. “Forgotten by whom?” but I’d make an argument for Red Harvest very much being out of favour in the traditional canon of crime classics. I admit to not having the love for the Continental…

Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys by Viv Albertine

Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys Viv Albertine Blurb: Viv Albertine is a pioneer. As lead guitarist and songwriter for the seminal band The Slits, she influenced a future generation of artists including Kurt Cobain and Carrie Brownstein. She formed a band with Sid Vicious and was there the night he met…