Friday, 11 December 2009


Ernest Raymond's enthralling novel We, the Accused was selected by James Robertson as one of his books of 2009 in The Glasgow Herald in late November.

Mr. Robertson was kind enough to say:

Capuchin Classics are reissuing neglected works of fiction in an impressively designed paperback series, and We the Accused by Ernest Raymond.....first published in 1935, is an absolute cracker. A big, slow-burning tale of a middle-aged, browbeaten teacher who murders his wife, thinks he's got away with it and then becomes the quarry in a massive manhunt across England, the novel is both a powerful statement against capital punishment and a gripping study of hope and despair.

The excellent introduction to this book by Clive Stafford-Smith will greatly enhance your reading pleasure.


Thursday, 10 December 2009


In the blizzard of 'best books of the year' lists that always descends from the broadsheets during December, we were delighted to spy two Capuchin Classics twinkling brightly with their special green radiance.

In the Sunday Telegraph, Philip Hoare praised The Conclave thus:

and Michael Bracewell’s reissued novel The Conclave (Capuchin), 1980s suburban angst as seen by a modern Scott Fitzgerald: elegant and devastating. Never has a trifle bowl smashed so symbolically.

I'll let you know about the other title tomorrow, just for the sake of some seasonal anticipation.


Wednesday, 9 December 2009


I have unashamedly borrowed this literary quiz from the wonderful people at Hertfordshire Libraries. It's a good mix of the easy, medium and mind-damagingly frustrating.

Guess the books and their authors from the initials (there are some classics, some modern novels and a few children's novels). E.g. OT by CD = Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

1. H P and the D H by J K R =
2. E by J A =
3. A T of T C by C D =
4. C m by C F =
5. C R by I F =
6. The I of B E by O W
7. F F the M C by T H =
8. The H W by N E =
9. O M in H by G G
10. M of a G by A G =
11. M D W by S H =
12. B J D by H F =
13. K S M by H R H
14. H of M by E W
15. The K R by K H =
16. The L, the W and the W by C S L =
17. B N W by A H =
18. W S S by J R =
19. M on the O E by A C =
20. The G of W by J S =
21. A F by G O =
22. A of G G by L M M =<
23. C C F by S G =
24. The H of the B by A C D =
25. C C M by L D B =
26. The C in the R by J D S
27. The M by W C=
28. S and A by A R =
29. A K by L T =
30. The D of the J by F F =


Wednesday, 2 December 2009


My last visit to Hitchin Library began with me staring in wonderment and fear at a pair of machines, emanating a mysterious blue glow, that stood where once the lending and returning counter had been.

It transpired that these were devices that performed, without the involvement of a librarian, all the basic functions of removing and returning articles from the library, and that they worked by said articles being inserted into a recess, where fiendish technology scanned the identifying barcode and performed the requisite actions. I have to say I was impressed by the new system, which includes a supermarket-style receipt displaying the items one has on loan and their due dates. My one disappointment was that, despite the impression given by their appearance, they could not dispense a semi-decaf skinny cappuccino. With extra chocolate.

My sincere hope is that this development will not result in library staff being laid off but rather being liberated to perform more interesting and worthwhile duties.

This may be vastly naive of me.