Miranda Carter

Miranda Carter is the author of a series of historical thrillers, beginning with The Strangler Vine.

Mary Renault’s novels manifest an unfashionably unabashed admiration for male heroism and an intense pleasure in male beauty and physicality. She often said she wished she’d been born a boy and didn’t mind that male readers and reviewers constantly misgendered her; I’ve never been a feminist,’ she wrote to a female friend in the 1960s, ‘simply because all those years my inner persona occupied two sexes too indiscriminately to take part in a sex war.’

Though there’s little to disagree with in Tessa Hadley’s assessment of Josephine Tey, I do think there’s more of a case to be made for Tey’s ‘odd’ or ‘uneasy’ novels: for the splashes of surprise and subversion amid the (sometimes egregious) prejudice and snobbery, and particularly for what one might now call the queer sensibility that quietly permeates a considerable part of her...

Dudes in Drapes: At Westminster Abbey

Miranda Carter, 6 October 2022

Between Henry III and George II, most British monarchs were buried here. There’s something appropriately feudal about the fact that the hoi polloi, shuffling round the ambulatory to view the medieval royal tombs near the altar, can see only their marble and porphyry sides, as the tops with their gilt effigies are set too high. You do, however, get other pleasing royal oddities for your money. 

The idea​ for Desert Island Discs came to Roy Plomley one night in November 1941 in the aftermath of the Blitz. Plomley was 27, an unsuccessful actor turned slightly more successful radio broadcaster. The fire in his digs had gone out, and he’d just put on his pyjamas when inspiration struck. He immediately typed out his idea and posted it the next morning to Leslie Perowne, a producer...

No more alimony, tra la la: Somerset Maugham

Miranda Carter, 17 December 2009

In his lifetime, Somerset Maugham was the most successful writer in the Anglophone world. By the time he was 90, 80 million copies of his books had been sold, he was a media celebrity and a very rich man. He had also lived, as Selina Hastings says, ‘much of his life under cover’. He went to great lengths to erase evidence of his private life, systematically destroying his personal...

On 30 July 1914, it suddenly dawned on Kaiser Wilhelm II that Germany was on the threshold of a war with three great powers. Panicking, he grabbed a recently arrived dispatch from St Petersburg...

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Joining the Gang: Anthony Blunt

Nicholas Penny, 29 November 2001

On the afternoon of 15 November 1979 the Prime Minister announced in the House of Commons that Anthony Blunt, retired Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, fellow of the British Academy, former...

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