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London’s Eiffel Tower (2)
2023-12-04 19:00
Fired with enthusiasm for the project to build a tower that would out do the Eiffel Tower, Sir Edward Watkin formed the International Tower Construction Company but investors did not mat… Read More
Durham Mustard
2023-12-03 10:00
Mustard had reached the North-East of England by at least the 15th century, monks on the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumbria, whose community was linked to Durham Cathedral, using… Read More
Lost Word Of The Week (88)
2023-12-02 10:00
On August 1, 2023 UK duty on still wine with a strength of over 11% ABV went up by 20% from 11.5% to 14.5% plus VAT, the biggest tax hike since 1975. Chancellors see taxing alcohol as fa… Read More
Head Of The Week
2023-12-01 19:00
Instantly recognisable amongst sea creatures, the starfish’s distinctive body shape is divided symmetrically into five sections. It gives them a starlike shape, hence their name. U… Read More
Dry Gin XII
2023-11-29 19:00
Distilleries et Domaines de Provence emerged in 1974 out of the Distillerie de Lure, which was founded in 1898 at Forcalquier in Provence. It is perhaps best known for its range of absin… Read More
The Undetective
2023-11-28 19:00
A review of The Undetective by Bruce Graeme – 231102 I have come across the works of Bruce Graeme, a pseudonym of Graham Montague Jeffries, through following his series of bibli… Read More
London’s Eiffel Tower
2023-11-27 19:00
The twin towers of Wembley Stadium were an iconic symbol of English football until they were demolished in 2003 but Wembley Park would have boasted an even more impressive structure had… Read More
Tewkesbury Mustard Balls
2023-11-26 10:00
Bright yellow with a relatively thick consistency, made from a combination of yellow and brown seeds and stronger than many other types due to its low acid content, English mustard is no… Read More
Lost Word Of The Week (87)
2023-11-25 10:00
Lord Ellenborough, whose birthname was, by a piece of nominative determinism, Edward Law, was Lord Chief Justice from 1802 until 1817, earned a reputation for being harsh and overbearing… Read More
The Village Twinned With Paris
2023-11-24 19:00
Many of the best ideas occur in a public house, so they say, and one of the most audacious occurred to a group of regulars of The Noel Arms in the tiny Rutland village of Whitwell one Fr… Read More
Death At The Villa
2023-11-23 19:00
A review of Death at the Villa by Moray Dalton – 231101 The last of the batch of five Moray Dalton novels reissued by Dean Street  Press in 2023, Death at the Villa was ori… Read More
Holborn London Dry Gin
2023-11-22 19:00
My third purchase on my recent trip to the Constantine Store, home of Drinkfinder UK, was one steeped in the history of gin, Holborn London Dry Gin. The development of the continuous sti… Read More
The Norwich Victims
2023-11-21 19:00
A review of The Norwich Victims by Francis Beeding – 231030 Death Walks in Eastrepps was my introduction to Francis Beeding, the nom de plume under which two British authors, Jo… Read More
The Rise Of The Leylandii
2023-11-20 19:00
Leylandii an evergreen coniferous tree of very fast rapid growth In 1911 at Leighton Hall, Christopher’s nephew, Captain Naylor, after picking up a cone from a Monterey cypress grow… Read More
Italian Kiss Of The Week
2023-11-19 10:00
An “Italian Kiss”, for those who do not know, was introduced into what is known as popular culture by a famous scene in the 1955 film, Lady and The Tramp. It involves two peo… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (86)
2023-11-18 10:00
With the popularity of card games over the centuries and with a pack containing fifty-two different cards, it is unsurprising that individual cards bear unusual names. Are you like Mr Sq… Read More
The Rise Of Town Twinning
2023-11-17 19:00
Nowadays it is a familiar sight when entering a British town or city to see a sign greeting the traveller with the words “Welcome to…twinned with…”, and the cha… Read More
Murder On The Orient Express
2023-11-16 19:00
A review of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie – 231028 So famous is it that Murder on the Orient Express, originally published in 1934 and the tenth in her Hercule… Read More
Blackwoods Navy Strength Vintage Gin
2023-11-15 19:00
In a time when shrinkflation seems particularly rife with distilleries reducing the ABV of even their long established products – stand up, Tanqueray – it is pleasing to come… Read More
What Dread Hand?
2023-11-14 19:00
A review of What Dread Hand? By Elizabeth Gill – 231026 The second of three novels featuring Benvenuto Brown that Elizabeth Gill produced in her tragically short career, What Dr… Read More
Leylandii – A Botanical Freak
2023-11-13 19:00
Leylandii an evergreen coniferous tree of very fast rapid growth There are almost as many of them in the UK as people, around 55 million at the last count and that was in 2011. For many t… Read More
2023-11-12 10:00
What do you do with a pumpkin? For the residents of the Belgian town of Kasterlee the question is more what can’t you do with a pumpkin? The town, associated with pumpkin growing s… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (85)
2023-11-11 10:00
The glorious city of Durham was once famous for more than its impressive cathedral and castle. It was also the home of the finest quality mustard, the brainchild of a Mrs Chalmers. It wa… Read More
Keighley’s Contribution To Town Twinning
2023-11-10 19:00
Poix-du-Nord is a small community with a population of around 2,200 set in beautiful countryside in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France, close to the Belgian border. Like many… Read More
St Giles Gin
2023-11-08 19:00
My bi-annual jaunt to West Cornwall leads me unerringly to the portal of Constantine Stores, headquarters of Drinkfinder, to stock up an empty box in the boot of my car with some more gi… Read More
The Case Of The Curious Client
2023-11-07 19:00
A review of The Case of the Curious Client by Christopher Bush – 231024 The Case of the Curious Client, astonishingly, the thirty-second novel detailing the exploits of Bush&rsq… Read More
More Gentleman’s Relish
2023-11-06 19:00
It was Englishman John Osborn, a grocer or provision merchant living in Paris, who developed the recipe for the Gentleman’s Relish. A rather complicated process, it involved taking… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (84)
2023-11-05 10:00
There are many ways in which the impecunious try to scrape a living together, often preying on the gullible or seeking the compassion of the sympathetic along the way. In 16th century En… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (83)
2023-11-04 10:00
Gambling and gamblers have been with us for millennia. A term for a gambler with pejorative connotations was cinquanter which owed its origins to the French numeral, cinque, one of the s… Read More
Strange Ending
2023-11-03 19:00
A review of Strange Ending by E R Punshon – 231021 Never mind a Strange Ending this is a strange book and although a fan of Punshon’s Bobby Owen series is one that I found… Read More
Byelaw Of The Week
2023-11-02 19:00
The wobbly footbridge aka the Millennium  Footbridge, which links bankside with the City of London, has had a chequered history. Almost as soon as it had opened, it was closed to pe… Read More
Murder Will Speak
2023-11-01 19:00
A review of Murder Will Speak by J J Connington – 231019 Some contend that an average J J Connington murder mystery is superior to any of the output of many of his contemporarie… Read More
Death Walks In Eastrepps
2023-10-31 19:00
A review of Death Walks in Eastrepps by Francis Beeding – 231016 Another new author of crime fiction although to use the term author is misleading as Francis Beeding is a nom de… Read More
Gentleman’s Relish
2023-10-30 19:00
Sometimes simplicity is best. Take hot, buttered toast. The joy that it can bring was wonderfully encapsulated in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (1908), where a plate &l… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (82)
2023-10-29 10:00
It is a long time since I have read any of the works of Sir Walter Scott but I would always have considered him an unlikely source of a Romany word but in Heart of Midlothian (1818) and… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (81)
2023-10-28 09:00
‘Tis the season of coughs and sneezes and other dread diseases. Whilst inoculation can (perhaps) ward off the worst that viruses can throw at us, in times gone by the elderly and i… Read More
Unnatural Death
2023-10-27 18:00
A review of Unnatural Death by Dorothy L Sayers – 231013 Ah, Lord Peter Wimsey! You either love him or hate him with his eccentric mannerisms. This is his third outing, original… Read More
Loveday Kissing Gate Gin
2023-10-26 18:00
When I am walking in the countryside, I much prefer to cross from one field to another through a kissing gate rather than over a cattle grid. The term “kissing gate” has been… Read More
The Crime Coast
2023-10-25 18:00
A review of The Crime Coast by Elizabeth Gill – 231012 Elizabeth Gill, the nom de plume of Elizabeth Joyce Copping, is another new author to me. In her short life, she lived to… Read More
Ladies’ Bane
2023-10-24 18:00
A review of Ladies’ Bane by Patricia Wentworth – 231005 Originally published in 1952, Ladies’ Bane is the twenty-second in Patricia Wentworth’s long-running Mi… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (80)
2023-10-22 09:00
We are all probably familiar with the noun a rake in the sense of a dissolute character prone to womanising and gambling, examples of whose progress were followed to good effect by the l… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (79)
2023-10-21 09:00
Although we seem to be swamped with information, I cannot help but think that many cannot see the wood for the trees, to be able to sift out the truth from the many competing shades of o… Read More
The House In Charlton Crescent
2023-10-20 18:00
A review of The House in Charlton Crescent by Annie Haynes – 231003 Originally published in 1926 and reissued by Dean Street Press, this is the second in Annie Haynes’ ser… Read More
Bear Of The Week
2023-10-19 18:00
News has reached of an exciting competition recently run by Katmai National Park in Alaska, Fat Bear Week. Early autumn is the time when bears pack on the pounds in readiness for hiberna… Read More
A Pocket Full Of Rye
2023-10-18 18:00
A review of A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie – 230928 A tale of gullibility and revenge wrapped up in a plot drawn from a nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence, makes up… Read More
Malice In Wonderland
2023-10-17 18:00
A review of Malice in Wonderland by Nicholas Blake – 230926 This is another wonderful book from the pen of Nicholas Blake, the nom de plume of Cecil Day-Lewis, which also goes u… Read More
Worcestershire Sauce
2023-10-16 18:00
A thin brown, savoury, tangy, spiced sauce, a delightful hit of umami in a bottle, Worcestershire sauce is firmly established as one of the world’s leading condiments with global s… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (78)
2023-10-15 09:00
One of the (many) downsides of the rise of social media is the opportunity it gives to rail away at the sidelines, often giving vent to opinions and feelings that they would not have the… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (77)
2023-10-14 09:00
Carl is a word with a long heritage, used in Old English to describe someone who is a labourer or a craftsman but who does not have any land or property, one of the lower orders. It was… Read More
The Polo Ground Mystery
2023-10-13 18:00
A review of The Polo Ground Mystery by Robin Forsythe – 230926 This is the second novel by Robin Forsythe to feature his amateur sleuth, Algernon Vereker, originally published i… Read More
Corpse Of The Week (2)
2023-10-12 18:00
It was a red letter day in Reading, Pennsylvania on October 7th when Stoneman Willie was finally laid to rest. He gave a false name when he was arrested for pickpocketing in 1895, and di… Read More
Watson’s Choice
2023-10-11 18:00
A review of Watson’s Choice by Gladys Mitchell – 230919 Reading a novel by Gladys Mitchell is never going to be an easy ride but by her often perplexing standards Watson&r… Read More
Reverse The Charges
2023-10-10 18:00
A review of Reverse The Charges by Brian Flynn – 230916 The ever-inventive Brian Flynn brightened up the war years with the highly entertaining and yet slightly bonkers Reverse… Read More
Goldsmith’s Folly
2023-10-09 18:00
In the early evening of April 8, 1824, Treen’s Logan Rock was dislodged from its pivot by Hugh Goldsmith and the crew of the HMS Nimble, dropping several feet on to a ledge. Once n… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (76)
2023-10-08 09:00
We are familiar with the term hunk meaning a large piece of something and, informally, a strong, attractive man, but what about hunks or hunx, a word with an unknown origin that appeared… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (75)
2023-10-07 09:00
It is more than a truism that a child is indulged more by their grandparents than their parents. It is also more than a truism that often the burden of childcare, at least during daytime… Read More
The Long Divorce
2023-10-06 18:00
A review of The Long Divorce by Edmund Crispin – 230914 Also known as A Noose for Her, The Long Divorce, originally published in 1951 and the eighth in Crispin’s Gervase F… Read More
Old Codgers Of The Week (15)
2023-10-05 18:00
Hats off to 71-year-old Sune Valentin Norlin who, in August 2023, claimed a Guinness World Record by eating 392.7 grams of fermented herring in one minute, the equivalent of almost two t… Read More
Lord Edgware Dies
2023-10-04 18:00
A review of Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie – 230912 Initially serialized in The American Magazine under the title of Thirteen for Dinner, Lord Edgware Dies, the ninth in h… Read More
False Scent
2023-10-03 18:00
A review of False Scent by Ngaio Marsh – 230910 At the very least what you come to expect from a Ngaio Marsh murder mystery is an ingenious way of murdering a victim and in Fals… Read More
Logan Rocks
2023-10-02 18:00
Men Omborth, Cornish for balanced stone, sits about thirty metres above the sea on top of the Teryn Dinas cliffs at Treen in the far west of Cornwall, about three miles or so from Land&r… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (74)
2023-10-01 09:00
Mooncalf is a term, now vanishingly rare, used to describe a simpleton, but in the century or so that it was used, it has had several meanings. In the mid sixteenth century calf was u… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (73)
2023-09-30 09:00
Some people take a perverse delight in sticking to their old ways even when they have been demonstrably proven to have been incorrect. Such a person might be described as a mumpsimus… Read More
The Case Of The Second Chance
2023-09-29 18:00
A review of The Case of the Second Chance by Christopher Bush – 230907 The Case of the Second Chance, originally published in 1946 and reissued by Dean Street Press, is the thir… Read More
2023-09-28 18:00
I do not visit many distilleries but over the summer did have the opportunity to view two representing the different ends of the gin making world, a global brand and an enterprising arti… Read More
Two-Way Murder
2023-09-27 18:00
A review of Two-Way Murder by E C R Lorac – 230906 Any book by E C R Lorac, one of the pen names of Edith Caroline Rivett, is a welcome addition to the collection of this Golden… Read More
The Man In The Dark
2023-09-26 18:00
A review of The Man in the Dark by John Ferguson – 230904 The only other novel by John Ferguson I had read was Death and Mr Dodsley, a later book than The Man in the Dark, the f… Read More
Vending Machines – A History
2023-09-25 18:00
Although Heron of Alexandria developed the first vending machine over two millennia ago, the idea was slow to take off. One of the earliest “modern” forms was the honour box… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (72)
2023-09-24 09:00
There are some people who seem to find a perverse pleasure in finding fault with anything and everything they encounter. Laurence Sterne created in A Sentimental Journey through France (… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (71)
2023-09-23 09:00
Bernhard Knipperdolling was a prominent Anabaptist who was involved in establishing the short-lived and ill-fated religious kingdom of Munster in 1534. When the rebellion was crushed, he… Read More
The Murder Of Eve
2023-09-22 18:00
A review of The Murder of Eve by Moray Dalton – 230831 Aficionados of Moray Dalton, the nom de plume of Katherine Dalton Renoir, have grown to expect her to explore the darker o… Read More
Another Glass Of Absinthe
2023-09-21 18:00
Known as “the green fairy” to its adherents and “the wicked green witch” to its detractors, absinthe was not for the faint-hearted. “After the first glass&r… Read More
Missing Or Murdered
2023-09-20 18:00
A review of Missing or Murdered by Robin Forsythe – 230829 A clerk working at Somerset House in London, Robin Forsythe was arrested for theft and fraud in 1928 and sentenced to… Read More
The Watersplash
2023-09-19 18:00
A review of The Watersplash by Patricia Wentworth – 230827 A watersplash is a ford, a shallow crossing over a river, and while it can be inconvenient and should it have stepping… Read More
A Killer In Our Midst
2023-09-18 18:00
A curious statistic, that vending machines kill four times more people than sharks do, piqued my interest. Its source, a 1995 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, revealed… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (70)
2023-09-17 09:00
In moments of exasperation I sometimes think that a person or a thing only exists to take up valuable space in the world. I might even call the object of my ire a cumberworld, a term whi… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (69)
2023-09-16 09:00
There is an invisible dividing line between being smart and having an obsessively excessive and affected concern for one’s appearance and clothing. For some the latter is foppery… Read More
Peril At End House
2023-09-15 18:00
A review of Peril At End House by Agatha Christie – 230825 Peril at End House, otherwise known as Tether’s End, was originally published in 1932 and is the eighth in her H… Read More
A Glass Of Absinthe
2023-09-14 18:00
It might just be a case of absinthe makes the heart grow fonder. After a century languishing in the doldrums, a victim of the mythology that surrounded it, absinthe is now one of the tre… Read More
Hide My Eyes
2023-09-13 18:00
A review of Hide My Eyes by Margery Allingham – 230823 Originally published in 1958 and the sixteenth in Allingham’s Abert Campion series, Hide My Eyes, which also goes by… Read More
He Who Whispers
2023-09-12 18:00
A review of He Who Whispers by John Dickson Carr – 230821 Originally published in 1946 and recently reissued as part of the British Library Crime Classics series, He Who Whisper… Read More
Why Are There So Many Magpies?
2023-09-11 18:00
Magpies were very common in most parts of Britain until the mid-19th century, their presence encouraged by farmers because they ate the insects and rodents that were injurious to their c… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (68)
2023-09-10 09:00
There is no doubt that the introduction of the telegraph and the Morse Code revolutionised the way our forefathers communicated, opening up the possibility of talking to the other side o… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (67)
2023-09-09 09:00
Most of us are familiar with the word jeopardy which entered into the English language in the early 14th century from the French, jeu parti, meaning a game with equal or uncertain odds… Read More
The Attending Truth
2023-09-08 18:00
A review of The Attending Truth by E R Punshon – 230819 Originally published in 1952 when Punshon was eighty and reissued by Dean Street Press, The Attending Truth is the thirti… Read More
Death In The Cup
2023-09-06 18:00
A review of Death in the Cup by Moray Dalton – 230814 Originally published in 1932 and reissued by Dean Street Press, Death in the Cup is the third novel in which Moray Dalton f… Read More
Glittering Prizes
2023-09-05 18:00
A review of Glittering Prizes by Brian Flynn – 230812 Considering that Glittering Prizes is the twenty-eighth in Brian Flynn’s Anthony Bathurst series, it is a surprise th… Read More
Magpie Lore
2023-09-04 18:00
So common are magpies (Pica pica), it seems, that it is not so much a case of “one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven f… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (66)
2023-09-03 09:00
We are familiar with the expressions “to blow one’s own trumpet” and even “my trumpeter is dead”, a lame excuse for resorting to boasting of one’s ach… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (65)
2023-09-02 09:00
It never does to look too eager for something, just hang back, display a feigned lack of interest or perhaps even effect a coy refusal. Such behaviour is a display of accismus, a noun de… Read More
The Case Of The Missing Men
2023-09-01 18:00
A review of The Case of the Missing Men by Christopher Bush – 230810 Fans of Christopher Bush have come to expect a well-plotted, intriguing mystery, one full of red herrings, s… Read More
Oxford Rye Dry Gin
2023-08-31 18:00
The Oxford Artisan Distillery, based in Cheney Lane, Oxford, distillers of Oxford Rye Dry Gin, have a fascinating back story, offering the discerning toper the opportunity to step in tim… Read More
The Body In The Dumb River
2023-08-30 18:00
A review of The Body in the Dumb River by George Bellairs – 230808 Perhaps it should come as no surprise that a man who worked as a bank manager by day and moonlighted as a writ… Read More
The Sanfield Scandal
2023-08-29 18:00
A review of The Sanfield Scandal by Richard Keverne – 230806 Richard Keverne, the pen name of Clifford Hosken, is another new writer to me. The Sanfield Scandal was originally p… Read More
2023-08-28 18:00
Atmospheric scintillation, the scientific term for the twinkling of a star, is, in truth, a form of optical illusion, the consequence of the interaction of its light with the Earth&rsquo… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (64)
2023-08-27 09:00
I am always fascinated how words over time develop meanings which are the polar opposite of their original sense. Take the Scottish dialect word from the 18th century, snool. As a nou… Read More
Lost Word Of The Day (63)
2023-08-26 09:00
There is a tendency amongst those interested in etymology and the development of our language with particular reference to those which have fallen into obscurity to indulge in lexiphanic… Read More
The Man Who Didn’t Fly
2023-08-25 18:00
A review of The Man who didn’t Fly by Margot Bennett – 230803 Scottish-born Margot Bennett is another new author to me and even if she did not write many works of crime fi… Read More

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