“Simenon. The Man, The Books, The Films” by Barry Forshaw (published by Oldcastle Books)

Detective, defectives under the magnifying glass

I wouldn’t call it an obsession, as such, but certainly a deep fascination. It began decades ago with the many books and then spread to the author himself – The Man – and finally on to the resultant films. Not in quite the same order as in this book, then, and certainly not with the same depth of knowledge, for Forshaw shows that there are still things to be learned about all aspects of this fascinating subject.

“Ian Fleming & Georges Simenon. The World of Bond and Maigret” (published by ERIS gems)

Two best sellers chat and swap secrets

Writers Ian Fleming, an Englishman, 1908-1964, and Georges Simenon, a Belgian, 1903-1989, created two of the greatest characters in 20th-century fiction – licensed-to-kill Secret Service agent James Bond 007 and Parisian detective Chief Superintendent Jules Maigret. The two authors met for a conflab in ...

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“The New Investigations of Inspector Maigret” by Georges Simenon (published by Penguin Books)

Human bloodhound gives evildoers short shrift

Georges Simenon having died in 1989, the uncovering now of any “new investigations” would be exciting news indeed for fans of our favourite Parisian policeman. Simenon bequeathed us 75 “Maigret” novels and 28 short stories, and the latter is what we have here – ...

“Colditz. Prisoners of the Castle” by Ben Macintyre (published by Viking)

Fresh understanding of an oft-told tale

Books about Colditz run into the dozens, and others about escapes from German prisoner of war camps would be in triple figures, so author Macintyre is necessarily offering something new, what’s described as access to an unprecedented range of material that adds up to ...

“Saving Freud: A Life in Vienna and an Escape to Freedom in London” by Andrew Nagorski (published by Icon)

Psychoanalyst’s mind wasn’t clear on threat to himself

It is March 12, 1938 and German troops are marching into Austria without a shot fired. Adolf Hitler is absorbing the country of his birth into the Third Reich. His anti-Semitism is vicious and Jews have been fleeing him for years. But Vienna’s most ...

“Be My Baby” by Ronnie Spector with Vince Waldron (published by Macmillan)

Married to a musical mastermind, and a master of emotional abuse

What a fascinating read – The Ronettes were near the top of the rock ’n’ roll world for a while, then singer Ronnie Spector had no career, no husband, no babies – and no hair, the long sexy hair that was her last thing ...

Sisi and her Greek Odyssey

Hungary’s beloved queen appears in an intriguingly different light

One year after Austrian author and journalist Stefan Haderer wrote his first book on Empress Elisabeth and her special relationship with Greece, the English translation is finally out. Under the Spell of a Myth, independently published with Amazon KDP, provides a fresh perspective on ...

“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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“Born on the Fourth of July” by Ron Kovic (published by Canongate)

52 years in a wheelchair, so far

The Vietnam War was an American disaster. Iggy Pop, who performed in Budapest last year, avoided it by acting crazy at his draft hearing. Creedence Clearwater Revival sang about the “Fortunate Son”s of senators who were assigned at home instead of fighting in the ...

“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 ...

Sisi and her Greek Odyssey

Hungary’s beloved queen appears in an intriguingly different light

One year after Austrian author and journalist Stefan Haderer wrote his first book on Empress Elisabeth and her special relationship with Greece, the English translation is finally out. Under the Spell of a Myth, independently published with Amazon KDP, provides a fresh perspective on ...

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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 ...

“BOWIEODYSSEY70” by Simon Goddard (published by Omnibus Press)

Long wait for the stardust to arrive

On March 19, 1970 yours truly was a 19-year-old junior reporter in the Bromley and Kentish Times newspaper office in south-east London. One day I answered a ringing phone and a woman said: “I think you should know that David Bowie is getting married ...