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Tuesday, 12 February 2008


My mother introduced me to Allingham when I was about 13 -- I loved her then and have always loved her since. And I agree with you and Rob that she is a better writer than Marsh, though I do enjoy Marsh as well.

Yes, couldn't agree more. I find Allingham's books really evocative in a way that Marsh's aren't. They do seem more grounded than many golden-age yarns- the portrait of London in Tiger in the Smoke is as good as any 20th century account. Also it's a nice touch to have a Watson who isn't in awe of his Holmes.

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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