“Death Threats and Other Stories” by Georges Simenon (published by Penguin Books)

The long and the short of it, for anoraks

All 75 of the “Maigret” novels that Georges Simenon wrote between 1931 and 1972 stand on The Budapest Times bookshelves but only one of his 28 short stories about the Detective Chief Inspector of the Police Judiciaire at the Quai des Orfèvres in Paris. ...

“A Chronology of Film. A Cultural Timeline from the Magic Lantern to the Digital Screen” by Ian Haydn Smith (published by Thames & Hudson)

Widescreen approach shows broader picture

As is often the case in a history of cinema, Haydn Smith opens up with Auguste and Louis Lumière’s short films that they unveiled to startled audiences in Paris in 1895, the first real moving pictures to be seen by a paying public. How ...

“Betty” by Georges Simenon (published by Penguin Books)

Pressing the self-destruct button in a big way

Betty – full name Élisabeth Étamble, age 28, of Paris – is a classic Simenon protagonist, someone apparently living a normal, albeit mundane, bourgeois life who suddenly goes off the rails and does something inexplicable. When we meet Betty she is wallowing in the ...

Extract from “Anything is Possible” by Gareth Southgate

‘We know what’s required to move forward’

The manager of the England football team, Gareth Southgate, talks in his book about the importance of reviewing and analysing every match to progress at competitions such as the EURO tournaments. England and Italy will contest the final of EURO 2020 at Wembley Stadium, ...

“Queen Elizabeth 2, Ship of Legend” by William H. Miller (published by Fonthill)

Smooth sailing in this look at last of the floating palaces

Younger readers may not recall the grand days when cruise ships were stately and nicely contoured, rather than the present-day monstrosities that look like floating office blocks and threaten to swamp vulnerable cities in their wake, such as suffering Venice. One vessel of the ...

“Mussolini’s War. Fascist Italy from Triumph to Collapse 1935-1943” by John Gooch (published by Penguin Books)

A losing battle to win ‘respect’

When Benito Mussolini became Prime Minister of Italy on October 31, 1922, aged 39, he was the youngest to hold the office to date. But he inherited a country that had a troubled history and was not ranked among the Great Powers of the ...

“All Shot Up” by Chester Himes (republished by Penguin Modern Classics)

Bodies with holes where there shouldn’t be holes

The title has a double meaning – all shot up with flying lead and all shot up with dangerous and illegal intravenous drugs. There’s usually plenty of both in Chester Himes’ free-wheeling gratuitously violent black crime novels. Black has a double meaning too – ...

“The Heat’s On” by Chester Himes (republished by Penguin Modern Classics)

Sometimes a cop just can’t help getting a bit rough…

Here we go again: the sixth book in Chester Himes’ Harlem Series of nine detective novels from the 1950s and 1960s is The Budapest Times’ fourth dose of the criminal mayhem in which this African-American author specialised. As before, Grave Digger Jones and Coffin ...

“Cotton Comes to Harlem” by Chester Himes (published by Penguin Modern Classics)

Where everything and nothing is black and white

Any aficionado of crime novels and films knows the “good cop, bad cop” routine, where a seething cop batters about a suspect until the accused turns to the sympathetic “good” cop for protection and spills the beans. It’s a cynical trick, of course. But ...