Related to: 'Elly Blake'

Teach Yourself

English at Work

Ellen Jovin
Authors:
Ellen Jovin

This Grammar Guru will solve the world's problems. Or, at least, help you figure out when to use an Oxford comma. - The New York TimesPut your English skills to work for you! This book is ideal for intermediate and advanced (CEFR B1-C1) nonnative speakers of English seeking to increase their communication confidence and effectiveness in the workplace. Improve your precision and professionalism so your ideas shine!The book consists of 50 short quizzes which include the most common English errors made by nonnative speakers in professional environments. This fun format allows you to find your own frequent errors and fix them. You will test your skills quickly, daily, and build your language awareness and accuracy in writing and speaking English. Short, clear explanations after each quiz help you improve your knowledge of the grammar rules. Complementing the quizzes are Ellen says boxes with the same practical advice on good communication etiquette and habits that Ellen has been sharing for years with large corporate clients in New York City and beyond. Witty and humorous drawings illustrate confusing language and common misunderstandings. The focus of the exercises is on fixing your grammar and problems with word choice. Examples are pulled from every industry: finance, law, consulting, publishing, real-estate, retail, technology, energy, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, education, advertising, government, insurance, non-profit, and more. Whatever your profession or interest, you will benefit from the exercises contained in this book. If you are just looking to sharpen your English, this book is for you, too.You will be learning from a professional writer with two decades of experience teaching executives in a business setting. A language-learner herself who has studied some two dozen languages, Ellen Jovin has written this book to help motivated working adults advance their business English on their own time and at their own pace.

Hodder Paperbacks

Nightblood

Elly Blake
Authors:
Elly Blake
John Murray

London Rules

Mick Herron
Authors:
Mick Herron

SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA GOLD DAGGER AND IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER'The UK's new spy master' Sunday TimesLondon Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one.Cover your arse.Regent's Park's First Desk, Claude Whelan, is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's facing attack from all directions himself: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist, who's crucifying Whelan in print; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who's alert for Claude's every stumble.Meanwhile, the country's being rocked by an apparently random string of terror attacks, and someone's trying to kill Roddy Ho.Over at Slough House, the crew are struggling with personal problems: repressed grief, various addictions, retail paralysis, and the nagging suspicion that their newest colleague is a psychopath. But collectively, they're about to rediscover their greatest strength - that of making a bad situation much, much worse.It's a good job Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren't going to break themselves.******Praise for Mick Herron'The new spy master' Evening Standard'Herron is spy fiction's great humorist, mixing absurd situations with sparklingly funny dialogue and elegant, witty prose' The Times'Herron draws his readers so fully into the world of Slough House that the incautious might find themselves slipping between the pages and transformed from reader to spook' Irish Times

Two Roads

Happier at Home

Gretchen Rubin
Authors:
Gretchen Rubin

Social media powerhouse and New York Times bestselling author of THE HAPPINESS PROJECT, Gretchen Rubin turns her attention homewards - an entertaining and thoughtful mix of literature, memoir and psychology sure to appeal to her huge fan base.In The Happiness Project, she worked out general theories of happiness. Here she goes deeper on factors that matter for home, such as possessions, marriage, time and parenthood. How can she control the cubicle in her pocket? How might she spotlight her family's treasured possessions? And it really was time to replace that dud toaster.And what does she want from her home? A place that calms her, and energises her. A place that, by making her feel safe, will free her to take risks. Also, while Rubin wants to be happier at home, she wants to appreciate how much happiness is there already.So, starting in September (the new January), Rubin dedicates a school year - September through May - to making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort and love. Each month, Rubin tackles a different theme as she experiments with concrete, manageable resolutions - and this time, she coaxes her family to try some resolutions, as well. With her signature blend of memoir, science, philosophy and experimentation, Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire readers to find more happiness in their own lives. (P)2018 Penguin Random House LLC

Hodder & Stoughton

The Beast's Heart

Leife Shallcross
Authors:
Leife Shallcross

'Utterly Enchanting' - Kate Forsyth, author of Bitter Greens and The Wild Girl'A beautiful retelling . . . poetical, imaginative, inventive' - New York Journal of Books'5 out of 5 stars . . . magical romance at its best' - Sam Hawke, author of City of Lies*********I am neither monster nor man - yet I am both. I am the Beast. I know why I was cursed; I know the legacy of evil I carry in my tainted blood. So how could she ever love me? My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart when I was struggling just to be human. And now I might lose her forever. Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the Beast's heart.*********Further praise for The Beast's Heart'What a delight! This is a beautifully crafted, deeply romantic reworking of the fairy tale. Leife Shallcross opens a brand new window onto the old story, creating a cast of engaging characters whose fates we really care about' - Juliet Marillier, author of the Blackthorn & Grim series'Leife Shallcross weaves her words like a fairytale enchantment. The Beast's Heart is like nothing you've read. Welcome to a glorious darkness' - Angela Slatter, World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings''A complex, charming, romantic, and richly detailed story about the redemptive power of love' - Readings Magazine'Wow oh wow. I was hooked from page one . . . I think I want a Beast of my own! Honestly I think I'd give this more than 5 stars if I could' - Books and Lemon Squash book blog'The writing was beautiful, and I was really immersed in the story from the start . . . It was a different take on a classic story, but one done with care and love and I am definitely a huge fan' - Between the Pages book blog'This is not only the most vulnerable Beast I have come across, but also my favourite one . . . [The Beast's Heart] offered a perspective I didn't know I needed' - Violette Books book blog'This book is so beautifully written, you'll feel the magic, the intricate storytelling, the love, all the feels that you can expect from a Beauty and the Beast retelling . . . This is a wonderful, magical and timeless book . . . There are so many parts that hit me right in the heart' - 5-star reader review'I had a wonderful time reading this book, I think that if you're the kind of person who lives and breathes fairy-tale retellings you will most certainly enjoy this book. It's a great addition to any YA fantasy-lover's shelf' - 5-star reader review

Hodder & Stoughton

Fireblood

Elly Blake
Authors:
Elly Blake

'With a fierce and vibrant world, richly-drawn characters, a steamy romance, and page-turning twists, Frostblood has all the elements of a great fantasy.' - Morgan Rhodes, New York Times bestselling author of the Fallen Kingdom seriesIn this action-packed sequel to Frostblood, the future of Ruby's world and a court ruled by the love of her life depends on the uncovered secrets of her past. Perfect for fans of Red Queen and Throne of Glass. Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his throne of ice. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby's powers and past....Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fireblood queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax - which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, how can Ruby decide whom to trust? The fate of both kingdoms is now in her hands.(P)2017 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Hodder Paperbacks

Frostblood: the epic New York Times bestseller

Elly Blake
Authors:
Elly Blake

The first in an addictive young adult fantasy trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Elly Blake, perfect for fans of Red Queen and Throne of Glass.'If there is one epic fantasy series that you pick up next year, make sure it's this one.' - K-BOOKS'Fast-paced and brimming with magic and intrigue.' - Lori M. Lee, GATES OF THREAD AND STONEEnter a world where fire and ice are mortal enemies...Ruby is a Fireblood. In a land ruled by frost, her very existence is a crime. She's spent her whole life in hiding. Until the day Frostblood soldiers raid her village and kill her mother. The day she swears to avenge her people.She must travel deep into the heart of the enemy, to the court of the Frost King, with only the mysterious warrior Arcus - a Frostblood rebel - by her side. But with alliances between flame and ice strictly forbidden, is Arcus friend or foe?Ruby will only have one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her. But she has no idea just how hot her fire will burn...

Hodder & Stoughton

Not in God's Name

Jonathan Sacks
Authors:
Jonathan Sacks

Despite predictions of continuing secularisation, the twenty-first century has witnessed a surge of religious extremism and violence in the name of God.In this powerful and timely book, Jonathan Sacks explores the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, focusing on the historic tensions between the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.Drawing on arguments from evolutionary psychology, game theory, history, philosophy, ethics and theology, Sacks shows how a tendency to violence can subvert even the most compassionate of religions. Through a close reading of key biblical texts at the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, Sacks then challenges those who claim that religion is intrinsically a cause of violence, and argues that theology must become part of the solution if it is not to remain at the heart of the problem.This book is a rebuke to all those who kill in the name of the God of life, wage war in the name of the God of peace, hate in the name of the God of love, and practise cruelty in the name of the God of compassion.For the sake of humanity and the free world, the time has come for people of all faiths and none to stand together and declare: Not In God's Name.

Hodder & Stoughton

C. S. Lewis: A Life

Alister McGrath
Authors:
Alister McGrath

Leife Shallcross

Leife Shallcross lives at the foot of a mountain in Canberra, Australia, with her family and a small, scruffy creature that snores. She has a tendency to overindulge in reading fairy tales, then lie awake at night listening to trolls (or maybe possums) galloping over her tin roof. Ever since she can remember, she has been fascinated by stories about canny fairy godmothers, heroic goose girls and handsome princes disguised as bears. She is particularly inspired by those characters that tend to fall into the cracks of the usual tales. She is the author of several short stories, including Pretty Jennie Greenteeth, which won the 2016 Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Short Story. The Beast's Heart is her first novel.

Chapter One

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, by John le Carré

Read the first chapter of John le Carré's acclaimed TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, now a major film.

Chapter One

BROKEN HARBOUR, by Tana French

Read the first chapter of Tana French's newest novel, BROKEN HARBOUR.

Chapter One

XO by Jeffery Deaver

Read the first chapter of Jeffery Deaver's newest Kathryn Dance thriller, XO.

A short story by the author of The Saint series, Leslie Charteris

The Uncritical Publisher

Even the strongest men have their weak moments. Peter Quentin once wrote a book. Many young men do, but usually with more disastrous results. Moreover he did it without saying a word to anyone, which is perhaps even more uncommon; and even the Saint did not hear about it until after the crime had been committed. ‘Next time you’re thinking of being rude to me,’ said Peter Quentin, on that night of revelation, ‘please remember that you’re talking to a budding novelist whose work has been compared to Dumas, Tolstoy, Conan Doyle and others.’ Simon Templar choked over his highball. ‘Only pansies bud,’ he said severely. ‘Novelists fester. Of course, it’s possible to be both.’ ‘I mean it,’ insisted Peter seriously. ‘I was keeping it quiet until I heard the verdict, and I had a letter from the publishers today.’ There was no mistaking his earnestness; and the Saint regarded him with affectionate gloom. His vision of the future filled him with overwhelming pessimism. He had seen the fate of other young men – healthy, upright young men who had had a book published. He had seen them tread the downhill path of pink shirts, velvet coats, long hair, quill pens, cocktail parties and beards, until finally they sank into the awful limbos of Bloomsbury and were no longer visible to the naked eye. The prospect of such a doom for anyone like Peter Quentin, who had been with him in so many bigger and better crimes, cast a shadow of great melancholy across his spirits. ‘Didn’t Kathleen try to stop you?’ he asked. ‘Of course not,’ said Peter proudly. ‘She helped me. I owe—’ ‘—it all to her,’ said the Saint cynically. ‘All right. I know the line. But if you ever come out with “My Work” within my hearing, I shall throw you under a bus... You’d better let me see this letter. And order me some more Old Curio while I’m reading it – I need strength.’ He took the document with his fingertips, as if it were unclean, and opened it out on the bar. But after his first glance at the letter-head his twinkling blue eyes steadied abruptly, and he read the epistle through with more than ordinary interest. Dear Sir, We have now gone into your novel THE GAY ADVENTURER, and our readers report that it is very entertaining and ably written, with the verve of Dumas, the dramatic power of Tolstoy, and ingenuity of Conan Doyle. We shall therefore be delighted to set up same in best small pica type to form a volume of about 320 p.p., machine on good antique paper, bind in red cloth with title in gold lettering, and put up in specially designed artistic wrapper, at cost to yourself of only £600 (Six Hundred Pounds) and to publish same at our own expense in the United Kingdom at a net price of 15/ (Fifteen Shillings); and believe it will form a most acceptable and popular volume which should command a wide sale. We will further agree to send you on date of publication twelve presentation copies and to send copies for review to all principal magazines and newspapers; and further to pay you a royalty of 25% (twenty-five per cent) on all copies sold of this Work. The work can be put in hand immediately on receipt of your acceptance of these terms. Trusting to hear from you at your earliest convenience, We beg to remain, dear Sir, Faithfully yours, for HERBERT G. PARSTONE & Co. Herbert G. Parstone, Managing Director Simon folded the letter and handed it back with a sigh of relief. ‘Okay, Peter,’ he said cheerfully. ‘I bought that one. What’s the swindle, and can I come in on it?’ ‘I don’t know of any swindle,’ said Peter puzzledly. ‘What do you mean?’ The Saint frowned. ‘D’you mean to tell me you sent your book to Parstone in all seriousness?’ ‘Of course I did. I saw an advertisement of his in some literary paper, and I don’t know much about publishers—’ ‘You’ve never heard of him before?’ ‘No.’ Simon picked up his glass and strengthened himself with a deep draught. ‘Herbert G. Parstone,’ he said, ‘is England’s premier exponent of the publishing racket. Since you don’t seem to know it, Peter, let me tell you that no reputable publisher in this or any other country publishes books at the author’s expense, except an occasional highly technical work which goes out for posterity rather than profit. I gather that your book is by no means technical. Therefore you don’t pay the publisher: he pays you – and if he’s any use he stands you expensive lunches as well.’ ‘But Parstone offers to pay—’ ‘A twenty-five per cent royalty. I know. Well, if you were something like a bestseller you might get that; but on a first novel no publisher would give you more than ten, and then he’d probably lose money. After six months Parstone would probably send you a statement showing a sale of two hundred copies, you’d get a cheque from him for thirty-seven pounds ten, and that’s the last trace you’d see of your six hundred quid. He’s simply trading on the fact that one out of every three people you meet thinks he could write a book if he tried, one out of every three of ’em try it, and one out of every three of those tries to get it published. ‘The very fact that a manuscript is sent to him tells him that the author is a potential sucker, because anyone who goes into the writing business seriously takes the trouble to find out a bit about publishers before he starts slinging his stuff around. The rest of his game is just playing on the vanity of mugs. And the mugs – mugs like yourself, Peter – old gents with political theories, hideous women with ghastly poems, schoolgirls with nauseating love stories – rush up to pour their money into his lap for the joy of seeing their repulsive tripe in print. I’ve known about Herbert for many years, old lad, but I never thought you’d be the sap to fall for him.’ ‘I don’t believe you,’ said Peter glumly. An elderly mouse-like man who was drinking at the bar beside him coughed apologetically and edged bashfully nearer. ‘Excuse me, sir,’ he said diffidently, ‘but your friend’s telling the truth.’ ‘How do you know?’ asked Peter suspiciously. ‘I can usually guess when he’s telling the truth – he makes a face as if it hurt him.’ ‘He isn’t pulling your leg this time, sir,’ said the man. ‘I happen to be a proof-reader at Parstone’s.’ The surprising thing about coincidences is that they so often happen. The mouse-like man was one of those amazing accidents on which the fate of nations may hinge, but there was no logical reason why he should not have been drinking at that bar as probably as at any other hostel in the district. And yet there is no doubt that if Mr Herbert Parstone could have foreseen the accident he would have bought that particular public house for the simple pleasure of closing it down lest any such coincidence should happen; but unhappily for him Mr Herbert Parstone was not a clairvoyant. This proof-reader – the term, by the way, refers to the occupation and not necessarily to the alcoholic content of the man –had been with Parstone for twelve years, and he was ready for a change. ‘I was with Parstone when he was just a small jobbing printer,’ he said, ‘before he took up this publishing game. That’s all he is now, really – a printer. But he’s going to have to get along without me. In the last three years I’ve taken one cut after another, till I don’t earn enough money to feed myself properly; and I can’t stand it any longer. I’ve got four more months on my contract, but after that I’m going to take another job.’ ‘Did you read my book?’ asked Peter. The man shook his head. ‘Nobody read your book, sir – if you’ll excuse my telling you. It was just put on a shelf for three weeks, and after that Parstone sent you his usual letter. That’s what happens to everything that’s sent in to him. If he gets his money, the book goes straight into the shop, and the proof-reader’s the first man who has to wade through it. Parstone doesn’t care whether it’s written in Hindustani.’ ‘But surely,’ protested Peter half-heartedly, ‘he couldn’t carry on a racket like that in broad daylight and get away with it?’ The reader looked at him with a rather tired smile on his mouse-like features. ‘It’s perfectly legal, sir. Parstone publishes the book. He prints copies and sends them around. It isn’t his fault if the reviewers won’t review it and the booksellers won’t buy it. He carries out his legal undertaking. But it’s a dirty business.’ After a considerably longer conversation, in the course of which a good deal more Scotch was consumed, Peter Quentin was convinced. He was so crestfallen on the way home that Simon took pity on him. ‘Let me read this opus,’ he said, ‘if you’ve got a spare copy. Maybe it isn’t so lousy, and if there’s anything in it we’ll send it along to some other place.’ He had the book the next day; and after ploughing through the first dozen pages his worst fears were realised. Peter Quentin was not destined to take his place in the genealogy of literature with Dumas, Tolstoy and Conan Doyle. The art of writing was not in him. His spelling had a grand simplicity that would have delighted the more progressive orthographists, his grammatical constructions followed in the footsteps of Gertrude Stein, and his punctuation marks seemed to have more connection with intervals for thought and opening beer-bottles than with the requirements of syntax. Moreover, like most first novels, it was embarrassingly personal. It was this fact which made Simon follow it to the bitter end, for the hero of the story was one ‘Ivan Grail, the Robbin Hood of modern crime,’ who could without difficulty be identified with the Saint himself, his ‘beutiful wife’, and ‘Frank Morris his acomplis whos hard-bitten featurs consealed a very clever brain and witt’. Simon Templar swallowed all the flattering evidences of hero-worship that adorned the untidy pages, and actually blushed. But after he had reached the conclusion – inscribed ‘FINNIS’ in triumphant capitals – he did some heavy thinking. Later on he saw Peter again. ‘What was it that bit your features so hard?’ he asked. ‘Did you try to kiss an alligator?’ Peter turned pink. ‘I had to describe them somehow,’ he said defensively. ‘You’re too modest,’ said the Saint, after inspecting him again. ‘They were not merely bitten – they were thoroughly chewed.’ ‘Well, what about the book?’ said Peter hopefully. ‘Was it any good?’ ‘It was lousy,’ Simon informed him, with the privileged candour of friendship. ‘It would have made Dumas turn in his grave. All the same, it may be more readable after I’ve revised it for you. And perhaps we will let Comrade Parstone publish it after all.’ Peter blinked. ‘But I thought—’ ‘I have an idea,’ said the Saint. ‘Parstone has published dud books too long. It’s time he had a good one. Will you get your manuscript back from him, Peter – tell him you want to make a few corrections, and that you’ll send him his money and let him print it. For anyone who so successfully conceals a very clever brain and wit,’ he added cruelly, ‘there are much more profitable ways of employing them than writing books, as you ought to know.’ For two weeks after that the Saint sat at his typewriter for seven hours a day, hammering out page after page of neat manuscript at astonishing speed. He did not merely revise Peter Quentin’s story – he re-wrote it from cover to cover, and the result would certainly not have been recognised by its original creator. The book was sent in again from his own address, and consequently Peter did not see the proofs. Simon Templar read them himself; and his ribs were aching long before he had finished. The Gay Adventurer, by Peter Quentin, was formally pushed out upon a callous world about two months later. The Times did not notice it, the library buyers did not refill their fountain pens to sign the order forms, the lynx-eyed scouts of Hollywood did not rush in with open contracts; but nevertheless it was possible for a man with vast patience and dogged determination to procure a copy, by which achievement Mr Parstone had fulfilled the letter of his contract. Simon Templar did not need to exercise patience and determination to obtain his copy, because the author’s presentation dozen came to his apartment; and it happened that Peter Quentin came there on the same morning. Peter noticed the open parcel of books, and fell on them at once, whinnying like an eager stallion. But he had scarcely glanced over the first page when he turned to the Saint with wrathful eyes. ‘This isn’t my book at all,’ he shouted indignantly. ‘We’ll call it a collaboration if you like,’ said the Saint generously. ‘But I thought you might as well have the credit. My name is so famous already—’ Peter had been turning the pages frantically. ‘But this – this is awful!’ he expostulated. ‘It’s – it’s—’ ‘Of course it is,’ agreed the Saint. ‘And that’s why you must never tell anyone that I had anything to do with it. When the case comes to court, I shall expect you to perjure yourself blue in the face on that subject.’ After the revelations that have been made in the early stages of this story, no one will imagine that on the same morning Mr Herbert Parstone was pacing feverishly up and down his office, quivering with anxiety and parental pride, stopping every now and then to peer at the latest circulation figures rushed in by scurrying office-boys and bawling frantic orders to an excited staff of secretaries, salesmen, shippers, clerks, exporters and truck drivers. As a matter of fact, even the most important and reputable publishers do not behave like that. They are usually too busy concentrating on mastering that loose shoulder and smooth follow-through which carries the ball well over that nasty bunker on the way to the fourteenth. Mr Herbert Parstone was not playing golf, because he had a bad cold; and he was in his office when the Saint called. The name on the card that was sent in to him was unfamiliar, but Mr Parstone never refused to see anyone who was kind enough to walk into his parlour. He was a short ginger-haired man with the kind of stomach without which no morning coat and gold watch-chain can be seen to their best advantage; and the redness of his prominent nose was not entirely due to his temporary affliction. ‘Mr Teblar?’ he said, with great but obstructed geniality. ‘Please sit dowd. I dode thig I’ve had the pleasure of beetig you before, have I?’ ‘I don’t think so,’ said the Saint pleasantly. ‘But any real pleasure is worth waiting for.’ He took the precious volume which he was carrying from under his arm, and held it up. ‘Did you publish this?’ Mr Parstone looked at it. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘that is one of our publicashuds. A bost excelledd ad ibportad book, if I bay perbid byself to say so. A book, I bight say, which answers problebs which are dear to every wud of us today.’ ‘It will certainly have some problems to answer,’ said the Saint; ‘and I expect they’ll be dear enough. Do you know the name of the principal character in this book? Do you know who this biography is alleged to be about?’ ‘Biography?’ stammered Mr Parstone, blinking at the cover. ‘The book is a dovel. A work of fickshud. It is clearly explaid—’ ‘The book is supposed to be a biography,’ said the Saint. ‘And do you know the name of the principal character?’ Mr Parstone’s brow creased with thought. ‘Pridcipal character?’ he repeated. ‘Led be see, led be see. I ought to dough, oughtud I?’ He blew his nose several times, sniffed, sighed, and spread out his hand uncertainly. ‘Iddn it abazing?’ he said. ‘The dabe was od the tip of by tug, but dow I cadd rebember id.’ ‘The name is Simon Templar,’ said the Saint grimly; and Mr Parstone sat up. ‘What?’ he ejaculated. Simon opened the book and showed him the name in plain print. Then he took it away to a chair and lighted a cigarette. ‘Rather rude of you, wasn’t it?’ he murmured. ‘Well, by dear Bister Teblar,’ said Parstone winningly. ‘I trust you are dot thinkig that any uncomblibendary referedds was intended. Far frob id. These rebarkable coidcidedces will happud. Ad yet it is dot every yug bad of your age who fides his dabe preserved for posterity id such a work as that. The hero of that book, as I rebember him, was a fellow of outstaddig charb—’ ‘He was a low criminal,’ said the Saint virtuously. ‘Your memory is failing you, Herbert. Let me read you some of the best passages.’ He turned to a page he had marked. ‘Listen to this, Herbert,’ he said. ‘“Simon Templar was never particular about how he made money, so long as he made it. The drug traffic was only one of his many sources of income, and his conscience was never touched by the thought of the hundreds of lives he ruined by his insatiable avarice. Once, in a night club, he pointed out to me a fine and beautiful girl on whose lovely face the ravages of dope were already beginning to make their mark. ‘I’ve had two thousand pounds from her since I started her on the stuff,’ he said gloatingly, ‘and I’ll have five thousand more before it kills her.’ I could multiply instances of that kind by the score, and refrain only from fear of nauseating my readers. Sufficient, at least, has already been said to show what an unspeakable ruffian was this man who called himself the Saint.”’ However hard it might have been for Mr Parstone to place the name of Simon Templar, he was by no means ignorant of the Saint. His watery eyes popped halfway out of their sockets, and his jaw hardened at the same time. ‘So you’re the Saind?’ he said. ‘Of course,’ murmured Simon. ‘Id your own words, a low cribidal—’ Simon shook his head. ‘Oh, no, Herbert,’ he said. ‘By no means as low as that. My reputation may be bad, but it’s only rumour. You may whisper it to your friends, but the law doesn’t allow you to put it in writing. That’s libel. And you couldn’t even get Chief Inspector Teal to testify that my record would justify anything like the language this book of yours has used about me. ‘My sins were always fairly idealistic, and devoted to the squashing of beetles like yourself – not to trading in drugs and grinding the faces of the poor. But you haven’t heard anything like the whole of it. Listen to some more.’ He turned to another selected passage. ‘“The Saint”,’ he read, ‘“always seemed to derive a peculiar malicious pleasure from robbing and swindling those who could least afford to lose. To my dying day, I shall be haunted by the memory of the fiendish glee which distorted his face when he told me that he had stolen five pounds from a woman with seven children, who had scraped and saved for months to get the money together. He accepted the money from her as a fee for trying to trace the grave of her father, who had been reported ‘missing’ in 1943. Of course he never made any attempt to carry out his share of the bargain. He played this cruel trick on several occasions, and always with the same sadistic pleasure, which I believe meant far more to him than the actual cash which he derived from it.”’ ‘Is that id the book too?’ asked Parstone hoarsely. ‘Naturally,’ said the Saint. ‘That’s what I’m reading it from. And there are lots more interesting things. Look here. “The bogus companies floated by Templar, in which thousands upon thousands of widows and orphans were deprived—”’ ‘Wait!’ interrupted Parstone tremblingly. ‘This is terrible – a terrible coidcideds. The book will be withdrawd at wuds. Hardly eddywud will have had tibe to read it. Ad if eddy sball cobbensation I cad give—’ Simon closed his book with a smile and laid it on Mr Parstone’s desk. ‘Shall we say fifty thousand pounds?’ he suggested affably. Mr Parstone’s face reddened to the verge of an apoplectic stroke, and he brought up his handkerchief with shaking hands. ‘How buch?’ he whispered. ‘Fifty thousand pounds,’ repeated the Saint. ‘After all, that’s a very small amount of damages to ask for a libel like this. If the case has to go to court, I think it will be admitted that never in the whole history of modern law has such a colossal libel been put on paper. If there is any crime under the sun of which I’m not accused in that book, I’ll sit down right now and eat it. And there are three hundred and twenty pages of it – eighty thousand words of continuous and unbridled insult. For a thing like that, Herbert, I think fifty thousand pounds is pretty cheap.’ ‘You could’n get it,’ said Parstone harshly. ‘It’s the author’s liability—’ ‘I know that clause,’ answered the Saint coolly, ‘and you may be interested to know that it has no legal value whatever. In a successful libel action, the author, printer and publisher are joint tortfeasors, and none of them can indemnify the other. Ask your solicitor. As a matter of fact,’ he added prophetically, ‘I don’t expect I shall be able to recover anything from the author, anyway. Authors are usually broke. But you are both the printer and the publisher, and I’m sure I can collect from you.’ Mr Parstone stared at him with blanched lips. ‘But fifty thousad pouds is ibpossible,’ he whined. ‘It would ruid be!’ ‘That’s what I mean to do, dear old bird,’ said the Saint gently. ‘You’ve gone on swindling a lot of harmless idiots for too long already, and now I want you to see what it feels like when it happens to you.’ He stood up, and collected his hat. ‘I’ll leave you the book,’ he said, ‘in case you want to entertain yourself some more. But I’ve got another copy; and if I don’t receive your cheque by the first post on Friday morning it will go straight to my solicitors. And you can’t kid yourself about what that will mean.’ For a long time after he had gone Mr Herbert Parstone sat quivering in his chair. And then he reached out for the book and began to skim through its pages. And with every page his livid face went greyer. There was no doubt about it. Simon Templar had spoken the truth. The book was the most monumental libel that could ever have found its way into print. Parstone’s brain reeled before the accumulation of calumnies which it unfolded. His furious ringing of the bell brought his secretary running. ‘Fide me that proof-reader!’ he howled. ‘Fide be the dab fool who passed this book!’ He flung the volume on to the floor at her feet. ‘Sed hib to be at wuds! I’ll show hib. I’ll bake hib suffer. By God, I’ll—’ The other things that Mr Parstone said he would do cannot be recorded in such a respectable publication as this. His secretary picked up the book and looked at the title. ‘Mr Timmins left yesterday – he was the man you fired four months ago,’ she said; but even then Mr Parstone was no wiser.

Simon Trewin writes about the journey to Andrew Miller's 2011 Costa Book of the Year win

A feature by Andrew Miller's literary agent

Andrew Miller's literary agent Simon Trewin writes about the journey from reading Andrew's first submission, to accompanying the author to his Costa Book of the Year win for PURE.

Chapter One

THE YELLOW BIRDS by Kevin Powers

Read the first chapter of Kevin Powers' THE YELLOW BIRDS - described by the Guardian as 'a must-read book'.

John Goldsmith on The Saint

In 1953, the journalist and author Richard Usborne published a seminal book called Clubland Heroes. It was an affectionate, nostalgia-tinged analysis and celebration of the fictional gentleman-adventurers whose exploits had thrilled him when he was a boy, the protagonists of three immensely popular novelists of the inter-war period: John Buchan’s Richard Hannay, ‘Sapper’s Bulldog Drummond and Dornford Yates’s Jonathan Mansel. These characters had a great deal in common. They all enjoyed substantial private means and were rich enough not to let anything as vulgar as earning a living interfere with their adventuring. They were proudly upper-class and, except in Hannay’s case, Public School and Oxbridge. They had all had damned good wars. They drove Rolls-Royces. They were viscerally racist and anti-Semitic. They believed in rough justice, an eye for a tooth, in stepping in where plodding policemen feared to tread, or were unable to tread because of inferior birth and breeding. They regularly bumped off the villains on the grounds – if they thought about it at all – that they were simply saving the hangman the bother. Crucially, they were all members of London Clubs, those exclusive enclaves in the St. James’s area, where the elite lunched and dined in splendour, wreathed in cigar smoke, waited on by silent, obsequious servants. But there was another writer, competing in the same market, equally successful, equally adored by generations of school-boys. His name was Leslie Charteris and his hero was Simon Templar, the Saint. Usborne does not ignore Charteris and the Saint entirely. He does something rather more disagreeable: he dismisses them both in a few disparaging lines. The Saint, he feels, is a lesser character than Hannay, Drummond and Mansel; Charteris is a lesser writer than Buchan, ‘Sapper’ and Yates. In the strict technical sense, Usborne is right not to include the Saint in his pantheon because Simon Templar would not have been seen dead in one of those stuffy St. James’s clubs. Indeed, throughout the Charteris oeuvre the Saint is devastatingly satirical about the denizens of such places, with their snobbery, prejudices, prudery and superannuated political opinions. (Hannay, Drummond and Mansel were all firmly of the Conservative Right.) But in writing off the Saint as a character and Charteris as a prose stylist, Usborne was wrong. I first encountered the Saint, as I did the other three, in the 1950s when I was banged up in a prep school in Hertfordshire. Even for that dismal era, the school was a time warp, a little world of its own that would still have been comfortably familiar to Hannay, Drummond and Mansel but which would have excited the Saint’s mockery – and pity for its young inmates. We were taught to worship Games and (a grimly Protestant) God. In the Cadet Corps we were trained to bayonet the Hun – as per the First World War – rather than the Boche of the Second World War. For competitive events – almost all sporting – the school was divided into sets named after military heroes: Roberts, Kitchener, Haig and Beatty. Our physical horizons were bounded by the red-brick turrets and walls of the school buildings, reminiscent of a Victorian prison, and fenced, gated playing fields and parkland. Beyond lay forbidden territory, strictly out of bounds, inhabited mainly by dangerous ruffians called oiks. Our intellectual horizons were limited to a curriculum designed for a sole purpose: to get one into a decent public school. The food was abominable, the school rules numberless and enforced by the frequent swishing of cane and slipper. Into this narrow, isolated realm stepped the Saint. He was dashing, debonair, didn’t give a damn about rules and regulations, lived by his own code, went where he wanted to go, did what he wanted to do, leaving policeman and criminal alike gasping in his wake. He didn’t drive a boring, boxy Rolls-Royce; he drove a sleek, superfast Hirondel. He was a citizen of the world, perfectly at home in any great city where, of course, he would know which was the best hotel and the finest restaurant, and where there was always an old friend to lend a hand in his latest endeavour. He was rich, yes, but the money didn’t come from a country estate or a share portfolio: he earned it by creaming off his usual ten per cent of the booty or scooping a reward. He was a free spirit, openminded, without a racist or anti-Semitic bone in his immaculately clothed body. His adventures sprang naturally out of his globe-trotting life, his insatiable curiosity about everything and everybody, his infallible nose for a mystery, his quixotic sense of justice. He was witty. He was clever. He had style, panache. He killed, certainly, but mostly in self-defence, and his preferred modus operandi was to step deftly aside and let dog eat dog. He never displayed the sadistic relish of Bulldog Drummond, the patriotic fervour of Richard Hannay, or the Old Testament righteousness of Jonathan Mansel. Most thrilling of all, perhaps, he lived openly with a woman, Patricia Holm, who was not his wife and whose charms could be only furtively and feverishly imagined. Although I loved reading about Hannay, Drummond and Mansel, they were, in a sense, only Senior Prefects writ large. They conformed to the rules – indeed, they strictly imposed them on others. They would triumph on the cricket field, the football pitch and in the boxing ring and eventually rise to be Head Boy. The Saint, by contrast, might perhaps win the Poetry Prize but would undoubtedly be expelled. He was completely different. He was a liberator. He pointed a finger, or rather two fingers, with a cigarette held nonchalantly between them, towards a wider, more sophisticated world. He showed that silly or irksome rules could and should be circumvented, pomposity laughed at, an individual path pursued. So much for the character. What of the literary skills of his creator? It was only years later, when I had the job of adapting some of the stories for the screen, that I came fully to appreciate what a superb writer Leslie Charteris was. The first task of the adaptor is to analyse the plot. I quickly discovered that in terms of the overall impact of a given story, the plot plays a relatively minor role. Certainly, the plots are well, often brilliantly, constructed, with all the requisite twists and turns and surprises and – most important – a rigorous logic. But the real fascination lies elsewhere: in description, in the development of a particular situation or scene, above all, in dialogue. The prose is spare and sinewy where the pace of the narrative demands it, but where there is space for a pause, Charteris fills it with paragraph after paragraph, sometimes page after page, of highly entertaining, perfectly honed writing, with a lightness of touch and a refined humour worthy of P.G. Wodehouse. (‘By the tum-tum of Tutankhaman!’ the Saint exclaims to Mr Teal in the first story in the present collection. Bertie Wooster himself couldn’t have put it better.) The dyspeptic critic might dismiss all this as mere padding: Charteris either lacked the powers of invention or was simply too idle to construct an elaborate plot and made up for it by shoving in a lot of extraneous guff. This would be to miss the point completely. The minimisation of plot and maximisation of other elements is the warp and woof of the Charteris style. What other thriller writer would think of (or dare to proceed with) spicing up a murder mystery with satirical verse? And the verse itself is worthy of Ogden Nash: Trained from an early age to rule (At that immortal Public School Whose playing fields have helped to lose Innumerable Waterloos), His brains, his wit, his chin, were all Infinitesimal . . . So how does Charteris, the prose stylist, measure up to the writers Usborne set above him? Take ‘Sapper’, the nom-deplume of an offi cer-turned-prison governor called H.C. McNeile. His literary skills can most charitably be described as workmanlike. There is none of the verve, vivacity and pure relish for words that you find in Charteris. And the character of Drummond himself verges on the Fascistic. John Buchan is a much better writer, a fine writer in fact, but his plots rely unnervingly on coincidence and his attempts to reproduce the slang of the criminal classes, or even worse of Americans, are embarrassing. Dornford Yates is in a category of his own. He developed a unique style, full of archaisms and purple passages that some admire (I am one of them) and others find ludicrous. His plotting is superb, perhaps because his method was never to know himself, at the end of a day’s writing, what was going to happen next. But he is most definitely an acquired taste. By any standard, Leslie Charteris is worthy to stand beside Buchan and Yates – and well above ‘Sapper’. And in The Saint and Mr Teal he is on top form. He was twenty-six when he wrote it and it has all the freshness and vigour of an early work. The three stories are exciting, surprising, funny – and great, great fun. The character of the Saint is fully formed, with all the swashbuckling sparkle that kept him alive through the following decades and saw him emerge, in the form of the incomparable Roger Moore, as a globally recognised figure. In the late 1970s I found myself one day in a remote fishing village on the coast of Brazil. When I told the locals that I was a writer they naturally asked me what I had written. I mentioned various novels and television shows, all of which were met with blank stares. But when I mentioned the Saint faces lit up, recognition was instant. It was smiles and ecstatic cries of ‘El Santo! El Santo!’ all round. The Saint had travelled a long, long way. He is still travelling. - John Goldsmith

Chapter One

COME SUNDAY, by Isla Morley

Read the first chapter of Isla Morley's COME SUNDAY.

Chapter One

SUNNYSIDE, by Glen David Gold

Read the first chapter of Glen David Gold's SUNNYSIDE.

My South Africa

Deon Meyer on the new South Africa

If books are windows on the world,1 crime fiction mostly provides a view of the underbelly and back alleys of cities and countries. This is my only genuine regret writing as an author in this genre. Because the real South Africa, the one that I love so passionately, is very different from the narrow and dim view my books probably allow. It is also quite unlike the one you see in those pessimistic fifteen second television news reports in the UK, Europe or Australia. So let me try and set the record straight. My country is breathtakingly beautiful – from the lush, sub-tropical east coast of Kwazulu-Natal, to the serene semi-desert stretching along the Atlantic in the west (which blooms in inde- scribable colour and splendour in Spring). In between, there’s the magnificence of the Lowveld, the Bushveld, the Highveld, the towering Drakensberg mountains, the aching vastness of the Karoo and the dense silence of the Knysna forests . . . Diversity is everywhere. In the climate (mostly perfect sunshine and balmy weather, but we have extremes too, summer highs of more than 50°C in Upington, and winter lows of -15°C in Sutherland – both in the same Northern Cape province), and in the cities (Durban is an intoxicating fusion of Zulu, Indian and British colonial cultures, Cape Town is a heady mix of Malay, Dutch-Afrikaans and Xhosa, Johannesburg is . . . well, modern African-cosmopolitan, utterly unique, and always exciting). The biodiversity of South Africa is truly astonishing. “With a land surface area of 1.2 million square kilometres representing just 1% of the earth’s total land surface, South Africa boasts six biospheres, and contains almost 10% of the world’s total known bird, fish and plant species, and over 6% of the world’s mammal and reptile species.”2 Of course we are also world-famous for our huge collection of wildlife regions and game parks – both public and private – encompassing every possible landscape from deserts to forests, mountains to coast, teeming with wildlife species, including Africa’s Big Five: Leopard, Lion, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhinoceros.3 But most of all, the diversity is in the people who constitute the Rainbow Nation. Our black ethnic groups include the Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Bapedi, Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi and Ndebele.The so-called ‘coloured’ (no, it’s not a derogatory term over here) population is mainly concentrated in the Western Cape region, and come from a combination of ethnic backgrounds including Malay, White, Khoi, San, and Griqua. White South Africans are descendants of Dutch, German, French Huguenots, English and other European and Jewish settlers. And our Indian population came to South Africa as indentured labourers to work in the sugar plantations in the British colony of Natal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The population of more than fifty million people is made up of African (40.2 million, or 79.5%),White (4.6 million, or 9.0%), Coloured (4.5 million, or 9.0%), and Indian/Asian (1.3 million, or 2.5%). And, having travelled most of the world, I can confidently say, you won’t find friendlier, more hospitable and accommodating people anywhere, irrespective of their race, culture, language or creed. We have nine provinces (Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu- Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West, Free State, and Western Cape) and eleven official languages: Afrikaans (13%), English (8%), isiNdebele (1.6%), isiXhosa (18%), isiZulu (24%), Sesotho sa Leboa (9%), Sesotho (8%), Setswana (8%), siSwati (3%),Tshivenda (2%), and Xitsonga (4%).4 Throw all of this together in a democracy not quite twenty years old (a tempestuous teenager, if ever there was one), and you get an effervescent, energetic, dynamic, and often a little chaotic, melting pot – of cultures, people, views, politics, opinions, and circumstance. After the tragedy and oppression of Apartheid, we are still very much coming to terms with – and are sometimes a little overwhelmed by – all the facets of the freedom-diamond. Which means that we argue incessantly, shout, point fingers, blame, accuse, denounce, complain, and criticize, mostly loudly and publicly, like all enthusiastic democrats should. But when our beloved Bafana-Bafana (the national football team), Springboks (our twice World Cup-winning rugby team) or Proteas (the cricket guys) walk onto the field, we stand united, shoulder to shoulder. And mostly, in our day-to-day-lives, we get along rather well. We increasingly study and work and live and love and socialise together, in great harmony. Of course, we have our problems. Poverty is the major one. “There is a consensus amongst most economic and political analysts that approximately 40% of South Africans are living in poverty – with the poorest 15% in a desperate struggle to survive.” However, we are making steady progress. The percentage of the South African population with access to clean drinking water has increased from 62% in 1994, to 93% in 2011. Access to electricity has increased from 34% in 1994, to 84% in 2011.5 In 2010, 13.5 million South Africans benefited from access to social grants, 8.5 million of whom were children, 3.5 million pensioners and 1.5 million people with disabilities. In 1994, only 2.5 million people had access to social grants, the majority of whom were pensioners. And since 1994, 435 houses have been built every day for the poor.6 And you might have heard about our other challenge – South Africa has a bit of a reputation when it comes to crime. I am most definitely going out on a limb here, but having studied the statistics, and looked at the (often unfair) comparisons over the past five years, I honestly believe we don’t quite deserve it. “. . . in relation to the overall risk of victimisation, South Africans are not much more likely to become victims of crime than people in other parts of the world,” Anthony Altbeker recently wrote in a carefully considered and exhaustively researched contribution to the marvellous Opinion Pieces by South African Thought Leaders.7 To put the matter into further perspective: In the two years leading up to the FIFA World Cup held in South Africa in 2010, almost every British, French and German journalist who interviewed me, asked the same question, more or less: “How big a slaughter is it going to be for fans attending the games?” Some were downright accusatory: “How dare you host this magnificent event in such a hazardous country?” A British tabloid even predicted a ‘machete race war’ waiting for visitors.8 And how many soccer fans died during the tournament? None.9 Furthermore, the attendees who were affected by crime-related incidents represented a very meagre 0.009% of the fans. That is far, far less than, for instance, the crime rate in Wales. When World Cup tourists were asked if they would consider visiting South Africa again, 96% said ‘yes’. As a matter of fact, if you are a tourist from the Northern Hemisphere visiting my beautiful country, your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime is less than 0.67%.10 (Compare this to the fact that “the 2011 British Behaviour Abroad Report published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) noted that the death rate (including murder and natural causes) of Britons in Thailand was forty-one per 100,000 tourists and for those visiting Germany was twenty-four. Tourists from the UK are far safer visiting South Africa”11 – with just 14.6 per 100,000.12) South Africa’s murder rate dropped by 6.5% in 2010-2011, attempted murder by 12.2%, robbery with aggravating circumstances was down by 12%, and house robberies by 10%.13 Our police services are slowly but surely turning the tide. We struggle with inadequate service delivery, our politicians don’t always live up to our expectations, and our unemployment rate is too high. But our economy is robust, and easily out-performs first-world countries like Greece (no surprise there), Italy, and Spain. South African Tax Revenue has increased from R100 billion in 1994 to R640 billion in 2010. Our debt to GDP ratio is 32% (USA 100%, Japan 200%, UK 90%). (The World Bank recommends a ratio of 60%.) And we are ranked first out of 142 countries in respect of regulation of security exchanges by the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2011/12.14 According to the Open Budget Index, South Africa has the most transparent budget in the world. We are the only African country that is a member of the G20. In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Survey of Democratic Freedom, South Africa ranks 31st out of 184 countries. And according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2010/11, South Africa has the 34th most efficient government out of the 139 countries ranked.15 The number of tourists visiting South Africa has grown from 3.9 million in 1994 to 11.3 million in 2010. South Africa is ranked among the top five countries in the world in respect of tourism growth (growing at three times the global average).16 I could go on. South Africa’s learner-to-teacher ratio improved from 1:50 in 1994 to 1:31 in 2010. According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2011/12, South Africa is ranked 13th out of 142 countries for its quality of management schools. 61% of South African primary school children and 30% of high school children receive free meals as part of the school feeding scheme.17 But none of these facts and figures, as inspiring as they are, will reveal the real reason why I am so unwaveringly optimistic about my country’s future. It is one of the major reasons for the peaceful transition miracle of 1994, it is something woven into the texture of everyday South African life, hidden from the fleeting eyes of foreign journalists on a flying visit, mostly talking only to important folks: The goodwill of ordinary people. Every day, in cities, towns, and tiny villages, small acts of kindness happen between human beings. Individuals who extend a helping hand across racial, cultural, political and linguistic divides, who extend friendship and kindness and empathy. I have been witnessing this for more than forty years, and I absolutely believe it is this goodwill that will carry us through, no matter how challenging the future may be. 1 “Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. They are engines of change, windows on the world, lighthouses erected in the sea of time.” - Barbara W. Tuchman, American popular historian and author, 1912-1989. 2 http://www.bcb.uwc.ac.za/envfacts/facts/biosa.htm 3 http://www.sa-venues.com/game_lodges_nationwide_south_afr.htm
 4 http://www.safrica.info/about/facts.htm (percentages rounded off)
 5 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/fast_facts_and_quick_stats/index.html
 6 Ibid. 7 Penguin, 2011. p. 47.
 8 http://www.dailystar.co.uk/posts/view/129402/WORLD-CUP-MACHETE- THREAT/
 9 http://www.truecrimexpo.co.za/
 10 http://www.info.gov.za/issues/crime/crime_aprsept_ppt.pdf
 11 http://www.issafrica.org/iss_today.php?ID=1394
 12 Ibid.
 13 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/crime/crime_statistics_show_drop_in_ murder_rate.html
 14 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/fast_facts_and_quick_stats/index.html 15 Ibid.
 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid.