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Not Much like Consent

Daniel Trilling: Crisis at the Met, 30 March 2023

Broken Yard: The Fall of the Metropolitan Police 
by Tom Harper.
Biteback, 446 pp., £20, October 2022, 978 1 78590 768 5
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Tango Juliet Foxtrot: How Did It All Go Wrong for British Policing? 
by Iain Donnelly.
Biteback, 341 pp., £20, November 2021, 978 1 78590 716 6
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... degenerated from the high point of the 1980s – when, as one former officer tells the journalist Tom Harper in Broken Yard, his book about the Met, ‘people had caravans and boats named after the home secretary’ – into barely concealed mutual contempt in the 2010s. ‘You will not find a police officer now … who would be willing to vote ...

Lovers on a Train

Susannah Clapp, 10 January 1991

by Patricia Highsmith.
Bloomsbury, 240 pp., £13.99, October 1990, 0 7475 0719 8
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... a lesbian love-affair, and was written shortly after Strangers on a Train, which was branded by Harper as ‘A Harper Novel of Suspense’. Anxious not to be relabelled as ‘a lesbian-book writer’, Highsmith submitted the manuscript under a pseudonym: Harper turned it down. She ...

Damp Souls

Tom Vanderbilt, 3 October 1996

Snow Falling on Cedars 
by David Guterson.
Bloomsbury, 316 pp., £5.99, September 1996, 0 7475 2266 9
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The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind 
by David Guterson.
Bloomsbury, 181 pp., £5.99, January 1996, 0 7475 2561 7
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... popularity. In simpler times, this story of a tragic killing in a small town would have brought Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird to mind. Now, the novel’s appeal may have more to do with our conflicting feelings about the trial and how it should have been conducted. In Guterson there are no lecherous journalists chasing exclusives or high-powered ...

Extreme Gothic Americana

James Lasdun, 6 June 2019

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee 
by Casey Cep.
Heinemann, 314 pp., £20, May 2019, 978 1 78515 073 9
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... in his macabre actuarial pursuits, as well as in his legal battles, by a white lawyer called Tom Radney. Exploiting the vulnerabilities of an insurance industry that in its eagerness to sell policies had neglected basic fraud prevention, Radney leveraged his client’s luck with dead bodies and live juries to lucrative effect. He made enough money to ...

Short Cuts

Peter Geoghegan: Libel Tourism, 16 March 2023

... to a report published in 2020 by the Foreign Policy Centre. In his recent polemic, Lawfare (Harper, £10.99), the human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson identifies three reasons why autocrats, kleptocrats and multinationals are so fond of London’s libel courts. First, English media law is claimant friendly. Second, British courts – much like British ...

Bounty Hunter

John Sutherland, 17 July 1997

Riders of the Purple Sage 
by Zane Grey.
Oxford, 265 pp., £4.99, May 1995, 0 19 282443 0
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The Man of the Forest: The Authorised Version 
by Zane Grey.
Nebraska, 383 pp., $15, September 1996, 0 8032 7062 3
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The Thundering Herd: The Authorised Version 
by Zane Grey.
Nebraska, 400 pp., $16, September 1996, 0 8032 7065 8
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... work, he had difficulty finding a publisher. The book was eventually taken by the New York firm Harper, after the commissioning editor consulted his wife on the matter (it would be interesting to know if she ever met Dolly Grey). Riders of the Purple Sage has one of the best, and most imitated, openings in Western fiction. The narrative is set in 1871-2 ...

When Kissinger spied for Russia

Phillip Knightley, 11 July 1991

Cold Warrior. James Jesus Angleton: The CIA’s Master Spy Hunter 
by Tom Mangold.
Simon and Schuster, 403 pp., £17.99, May 1991, 9780671699307
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... favourite restaurant, La Niçoise, in upper Georgetown, where he had a regular booking. He drank a Harper bourbon to start, two or three double martinis before the meal, and then bourbon with it. Back in his office, which had no natural light, he often napped much of the afternoon. Then he took home his files and worked and drank through the night. Although ...

Wordsworth’s Crisis

E.P. Thompson, 8 December 1988

Wordsworth and Coleridge: The Radical Years 
by Nicholas Roe.
Oxford, 306 pp., £27.50, March 1988, 0 19 812868 1
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... Revolution and, in different ways and at different times, changed their minds. George McLean Harper’s William Wordsworth: His Life, Works and Influence (1919) set a coping-stone on the scholarship of that period. In subsequent decades, despite much patient editorial scholarship, the matter of the poets’ ‘revolutionary’ youth has been obscured and ...

Good Fibs

Andrew O’Hagan: Truman Capote, 2 April 1998

Truman Capote: In which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career 
by George Plimpton.
Picador, 498 pp., £20, February 1998, 0 330 36871 0
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... talent like his – gilt-edged, romantic, dark and stylishly frail – was a fashion magazine like Harper’s Bazaar. This was a world away from Harold Ross’s manly fine-tuning: a place, rather, for womanly fine-tuning, and for subtle new writing by people such as Jean Stafford and Eudora Welty; and beyond that it was one of the robust new advertising ...

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