“A Promenade in Parc Munkácsy” by Alexander York (published by Austin Macauley)

Colourful characters twist and turn in crime caper

Debut novelist Alexander York has seemingly gone for filmic atmosphere rather than minor style issues such as crossing the “t”s and dotting the “i”s, and Hungarians can be along for the scenic ride as the action sets out from England and passes numerous Magyarország landmarks when Sir Edward Barrett takes a train to pursue his nefarious mission – to misappropriate a Munkácsy Mihály painting from Talanok Castle in Mukadiva, Ukraine.

“The Jersey, The Secrets Behind the World's Most Successful Team” by Peter Bills (published by Pan Books)

How New Zealanders took the ball and ran with it

A bit of an odd thing happened after Peter Bills published his book in August 2018 about the all-conquering New Zealand All Blacks rugby union teams that had a better winning record than any other sports teams in history – they actually started to ...

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“The Hatter’s Ghosts” by Georges Simenon (published by Penguin Books)

The art of cutting long stories (and words) short

Prolific he may have been but prolix he was not. Georges Simenon, the author of some 400 books (about half of them any good, the rest unabashed pulp), said he once read a statistic that half the people in France used no more than ...

“Operation Jubilee. Dieppe, 1942: The Folly and the Sacrifice” by Patrick Bishop (published by Penguin Books)

Blundering into a bloodbath

In the wider context of a world war spilling blood on three continents, the quick Allied raid on the French Channel port of Dieppe on August 18, 1942 was a minor episode compared with what was to follow. But it was big at this ...

“Britain’s Secret Defences” by Andrew Chatterton (published by Casemate)

Civilian assassins, saboteurs and spies awaited Germans

After the Nazi war machine – the Blitzkrieg – steamrollered through the Low Countries and France in May 1940, some 338,000 trapped Allied troops were evacuated across the Channel in the “Miracle of Dunkirk”. The threat of an invasion of England became very real, ...

“Barbara Payton, A Life in Pictures” by John O’Dowd (published by BearManor Media)

Doomed actress a femme fatale on screen and off

Actress Barbara Payton had a headful of demons that she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, control. Hypocritical Hollywood liked to be seen as squeaky clean but debauchery was rife off-set, with adultery, casting couches and secret “fuck pads” where powerful studio men housed willing starlets. The ...

“The Venice Train” by Georges Simenon (published by Penguin Books)

The ‘root of all evil’ fouls up another mind

People, places, plot – get the right balance between the three elements and your budding book is coming along. For Simenon it was the places that gave the atmosphere, usually in Paris or the French countryside, and the plot generally took care of itself ...

“You Had To Be There! The Rolling Stone Live 1962-69” by Richard Houghton (published by Gottahavebooks)

Stories from those who there for those who wish they had been

Beat groups worked themselves into the ground in Britain in the early 1960s, crisscrossing the land in an exhausting series of concerts. The Rolling Stones, for instance, racking up more than 800 shows around Britain between 1963 and 1966, leaving riotous audiences in their ...

“Love in Budapest” by Robert Babirad (published by TouchPointPress)

Exposure to rich history of Hungary results in first novel

Robert Babirad was inspired to write his debut novel, “Love in Budapest”, after his experiences during his first visit to Hungary to visit family and friends last summer, spending time in the capital and Lenti, in Zala county. It was the first time that ...

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“The Jersey, The Secrets Behind the World's Most Successful Team” by Peter Bills (published by Pan Books)

How New Zealanders took the ball and ran with it

A bit of an odd thing happened after Peter Bills published his book in August 2018 about the all-conquering New Zealand All Blacks rugby union teams that had a better winning record than any other sports teams in history – they actually started to ...

“The Hatter’s Ghosts” by Georges Simenon (published by Penguin Books)

The art of cutting long stories (and words) short

Prolific he may have been but prolix he was not. Georges Simenon, the author of some 400 books (about half of them any good, the rest unabashed pulp), said he once read a statistic that half the people in France used no more than ...

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“A Promenade in Parc Munkácsy” by Alexander York (published by Austin Macauley)

Colourful characters twist and turn in crime caper

Debut novelist Alexander York has seemingly gone for filmic atmosphere rather than minor style issues such as crossing the “t”s and dotting the “i”s, and Hungarians can be along for the scenic ride as the action sets out from England and passes numerous Magyarország ...

“Greyhound” by C.S. Forester (published by Penguin Books)

Dogged by death in the deep

C.S. Forester died in 1966 and he is not forgotten in The Budapest Times office, where we have a nice little collection of 18 of his books. But they don’t include “Greyhound”, and in fact we were a bit puzzled when it was published ...

“Ukrainian Railroad Ladies” stand proud in portrait book

Right side of the tracks

Ukraine has long been consumed by turmoil: political prosecutions, a stalemated war in the east and the loss of its territory to an aggressive Russian neighbour, not to mention rampant corruption and a troubled economy. It’s easy to understand, then, why people here pay little attention to ...