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Inventing Africa

Caroline Moorehead, 18 September 1980

Fantastic Invasion 
by Patrick Marnham.
Cape, 271 pp., £6.50, May 1980, 0 224 01829 9
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Images of Africa 
by Naomi Mitchison.
Canongate, 139 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 903937 70 0
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... We owe much to your country,’ the Anglican archbishop of Uganda told Patrick Marnham shortly before being shot in 1977. ‘We need you, and not just your knowledge; we need your fellowship. Most people here know this. What we have become, you made us.’ The tragedy of this statement suffuses Fantastic Invasion, the record Patrick Marnham brought back with him from a series of visits to West and East Africa ...

Did he really?

T.J. Binyon, 3 December 1992

The man who wasn’t Maigret: A Portrait of Georges Simenon 
by Patrick Marnham.
Bloomsbury, 346 pp., £17.99, April 1992, 0 7475 0884 4
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... as a child. As a result, her life was a constant search for security, and this was to be, in Marnham’s view, a dominating factor in the formation of her son’s personality. A younger brother, Christian, was born in 1906. After a chequered career he was killed in Vietnam in 1947 while serving with the French Foreign Legion.The German occupation of ...
The ‘Private Eye’ Story: The First 21 Years 
by Patrick Marnham.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 232 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 233 97509 8
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One for the Road: Further Letters of Denis Thatcher 
by Richard Ingrams and John Wells.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1982, 9780233975115
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Sir James Goldsmith: The Man and the Myth 
by Geoffrey Wansell.
Fontana, 222 pp., £1.95, April 1982, 0 00 636503 5
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... other flourishing firms, boasts a pension scheme and a company villa in the Dordogne. Secondly, as Patrick Marnham demonstrates in the course of his amiable and rambling volume, the magazine has always been a highly permeable organisation. Where once its politics were leftish, its stance investigative, and its key influence Paul Foot, now its politics are ...

A Cézanne-Like Vision of Peaches

Lorna Scott Fox, 30 March 2000

Dreaming with His Eyes Open: A Life of Diego Rivera 
by Patrick Marnham.
Bloomsbury, 368 pp., £12.99, November 1999, 0 7475 4450 6
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Diego Rivera: The Detroit Industry Murals 
by Linda Bank Downs.
Norton, 202 pp., £35, March 2000, 0 393 04529 3
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... by the success of Abstract Expressionism, signifying a decisive defection from engagé figuration. Patrick Marnham enjoys Rivera’s murals, and describes them well, but he ignores or trivialises the wider aesthetic and political issues. Incredibly, he never mentions the Mexican School of Painting, which owed so much to Rivera’s style. He is more ...

Lucky’s Dip

James Fox, 12 November 1987

Trail of Havoc: In the Steps of Lord Lucan 
by Patrick Marnham.
Viking, 204 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 670 81391 5
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Lucan: Not Guilty 
by Sally Moore.
Sidgwick, 271 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 9780283995361
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... was found in the US mailbag at 46 Lower Belgrave Street in London there has been no new evidence. Patrick Marnham’s only novelty is the evidence from Taki, the Spectator gossip-columnist, to the effect that he knew Lucky Lucan had a powerboat and had made dummy runs with an eight-stone sack to the coast. That fits with Lucan’s remarks to Greville ...

Our God is dead

Richard Vinen: Jean Moulin, 22 March 2001

The Death of Jean Moulin: Biography of a Ghost 
by Patrick Marnham.
Murray, 290 pp., £20, June 2000, 0 7195 5919 7
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... Robert Brasillach pointed out in 1943 that it was an ideal setting for detective stories, and Patrick Marnham’s gripping book is a detective story of sorts. It recounts the life of a man who was, in himself, particularly opaque. Jean Moulin was ambitious and devious. He exploited every possible political connection to advance his career and by 1937 ...
by Richard Ingrams.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 144 pp., £4.25
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... intrigued by the personalities of contributors to the magazine, Messrs Waugh, West, Gillard and Marnham, and would have liked to have been editor of Private Eye. Goldsmith’s aversion to the Eye certainly seems to have been different from the conventional dislike. It may have touched off fears of a deep and dangerous conspiracy against himself. ‘ “Is ...

Maigret’s Room

John Lanchester: The Home Life of Inspector Maigret, 4 June 2020

... when he was 18. It’s never been translated, but according to Simenon’s excellent biographer Patrick Marnham it’s a would-be humorous story about his home town, Liège, ‘partly set in a chemist’s shop which specialised in laxatives for pigeons’. Over the next few years, under a variety of pseudonyms, he wrote 150 or so pulp books, mainly of ...

Quite a Show

Tim Parks: Georges Simenon, 9 October 2014

A Man’s Head 
by Georges Simenon, translated by David Coward.
Penguin, 169 pp., £6.99, July 2014, 978 0 14 139351 3
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A Crime in Holland 
by Georges Simenon, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Penguin, 160 pp., £6.99, May 2014, 978 0 14 139349 0
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... à trois. Simenon was mapping out futures, more or less tormented, for the three of them. As Patrick Marnham remarks in his excellent 1994 biography, ‘the account of the experience became part of the experience.’ Neither woman headed for the door. Simenon by this time was a multimillionaire. How does Inspector Maigret fit into all this? For if ...

A City of Sand and Puddles

Julian Barnes: Paris, 22 April 2010

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris 
by Graham Robb.
Picador, 476 pp., £18.99, April 2010, 978 0 330 45244 1
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The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps 
by Eric Hazan, translated by David Fernbach.
Verso, 384 pp., £20, February 2010, 978 1 84467 411 4
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... question a total hunchback population of 13. This is the most felicitous use of statistics since Patrick Marnham’s account of the Lucan case. (Noting that Lucan, in his days as an inhouse gambler at the Clermont Club, ate nothing but lamb cutlets, summer and winter, Marnham worked out the approximate number of sheep ...

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