Between Stone and Sky
By Whitney Brown
At the age of twenty-six, Whitney Brown met a dry-stone waller. Within weeks she was out on the hill with him in Wales, learning the language of dry-stone walling. Far away from the pressures of her old life, she found deep satisfaction in working with her hands, in the age and heft of the stones, and the ring of the hammer.Out under the open sky, Whitney relished every sore muscle and smashed finger, opportunity to stand atop a wall she'd just built and feel like the strongest woman alive. Between Stone and Sky is a celebration of the raw and rugged splendour of the Welsh countryside and the enduring beauty and relevance of traditional craftsmanship. It is an unflinchingly honest account of the emotional struggle to become and belong. Most of all, it is an empowering story of female friendship, accepting uncertainty and risk, and crossing oceans in pursuit of dreams.
By Julian Lees
'Lees' strikingly descriptive writing transports you directly to the streets of Jakarta... this will make you want to book a flight right now' IndependentA killer hides in plain sight on the crowded streets of Jakarta . . . When a woman's scorched remains are discovered in her burnt-out car, Ruud Pujasumarta and his team are brought in to investigate what appears to be a routine homicide. But when another woman's charred body is found a few days later, Ruud also finds a banner unfurled by the corpse's feet. A verse from the Quran is scribbled across it, calling for unbelievers to be burned. Suspicions that the team have a religiously-motivated serial killer on their hands seem to be confirmed when a third body turns up with the same MO.But who is responsible? Is it the Australian diplomat who was obsessed with the first victim? The imam who preaches Sharia law? Or the military general taking backhanders and living a life of luxury in Jakarta? Despite the many possible suspects, Ruud is suspicious that the killer may actually be someone much closer to home, someone he has trusted for many years. What unravels next is a terrifying chain of events . . . And what Ruud discovers puts his life, and the lives of those around him, in danger.Praise for Julian Lees'Lee's striking descriptive writing transports you directly to the streets of Jakarta' Irish Independent'A darkly compelling tale of family secrets, lies and murder' Crime Review
By E. S. Thomson
'Love evocative descriptions of Victorian London and brilliant plotting? Then grab a copy of this!' Rebecca Griffiths, author of The Primrose Pathx x xA world of secrets, murder and betrayal lie behind the London waterfront . . . Summoned to the riverside by the desperate, scribbled note of an old friend, Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain find themselves on board the seamen's floating hospital, an old hulk known only as The Blood, where prejudice, ambition and murder seethe beneath a veneer of medical respectability. On shore, a young woman, a known prostitute, is found drowned in a derelict boatyard. A man leaps to his death into the Thames, driven mad by poison and fear. The events are linked - but how? Courting danger in the opium dens and brothels of the waterfront, certain that the Blood lies at the heart of the puzzle, Jem and Will embark on a quest to uncover the truth. In a hunt that takes them from the dissecting tables of a private anatomy school to the squalor of the dock-side mortuary, they find themselves involved in a dark and terrible mystery. x x xPraise for E.S. Thomson'Meticulously researched and masterfully plotted, E.S. Thomson has written a complex, harrowing and highly enjoyable tale' Daily Express'Here's a tale of Victorian London to freeze your blood on a cold winter's night' Evening Telegraph'Jem Flockhart's London is vivid, pungent and perilous. The Blood takes you to places you will love to picture but be grateful you can't smell' Chris Brookmyre'E. S. Thompson's Jem Flockhart books are the best I've read in years. Jem is just my kind of heroine: scarred, smart, complex, and unapologetically queer' Kirsty Logan, author of The Gracekeepers'It's rare that a book is Gothic enough for me, but Beloved Poison is killing it. The blood, the bones, the crumbling hospital . . .' Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions'Jem Flockhart is a marvel . . . This vivid journey into the dark side of the human soul is a thoroughly engrossing tale' Mary Paulson Ellis, author of The Other Mrs Walker'Deliciously dark and vividly atmospheric, menace oozes from every page. Terrific for lovers of historical noir' Saga'A first class piece of historical crime writing' Big IssueA marvellous, vivid book ... immaculately researched and breathtakingly dark' Janet Ellis, author of The Butcher's Hook
Burke and Wills
By Peter FitzSimons
'They have left here today!' he calls to the others. When King puts his hand down above the ashes of the fire, it is to find it still hot. There is even a tiny flame flickering from the end of one log. They must have left just hours ago.'MELBOURNE, 20 AUGUST 1860. In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off, farewelled by 15,000 cheering well-wishers. Led by Robert O'Hara Burke, a brave man totally lacking in the bush skills necessary for his task; surveyor and meteorologist William Wills; and 17 others, the expedition took 20 tons of equipment carried on six wagons, 23 horses and 26camels.Almost immediately plagued by disputes and sackings, the expeditioners battled the extremes of the Australian landscape and weather: its deserts, the boggy mangrove swamps of the Gulf, the searing heat and flooding rains. Food ran short and, unable to live off the land, the men nevertheless mostly spurned the offers of help from the local Indigenous people.In desperation, leaving the rest of the party at the expedition's depot on Coopers Creek, Burke, Wills and John King made a dash for the Gulf in December 1860. Bad luck and bad management would see them miss by just hours a rendezvous back at Coopers Creek, leaving them stranded in the wilderness with practically no supplies. Only King survived to tell the tale.Yet, despite their tragic fates, the names of Burke and Wills have become synonymous with perseverance and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. They live on in Australia's history - and their story remains immediate and compelling.
Blotto, Twinks and the Stars of the Silver Screen
By Simon Brett
Another hair-raising adventure featuring the aristocratic brother and sister sleuthing duo!The end of the cricket season spells gloom for Blotto, until he is invited to bat against the Hollywood cricket team out in sunny LA, where rain never stops play. And so begins the latest adventure for Blotto and his supremely gifted sister Twinks. Although their mother, the Dowager Duchess of Tawcester, keeps a strict rein on her two children, she knows America is full of wealthy young men, all of whom will fall in love with her daughter - and marriage to a Texan millionaire would solve the Tawcester financial problems once and for all.So, accompanied by trusty chauffeur Corky Froggett, the intrepid siblings head out to California. On arrival in Hollywood they are invited to a glitzy party where they are introduced to a firmament of Hollywood stars, directors and gossip columnists, but the mood of the party suddenly curdles with the breaking news that beautiful starlet Mimsy La Pim - the (former) love of Blotto's life - has been kidnapped. And Blotto is determined to make it his personal mission to rescue her.But in the world of old-fashioned cricket matches, gigantic Hollywood egos, film-making disasters and merciless crooks, it soon falls to Twinks to rescue her brother from the various messes he creates when attempting to rescue his damsel in distress. Will the siblings ever get back to Tawcester Towers - or will it be a case of death before wicket?
By Anthea Cohen
When Agnes Turner is witness to a rape, she goes for the assailant with a knife - with fatal consequences. The victim repays Agnes by blackmailing her, and when Agnes refuses her demands she kidnaps her beloved Jack Russell terrier. Agnes faces the prospect of committing yet another crime to secure the safe return of her dog. But then another death occurs . . . In this, the 18th in the Agnes Turner mysteries, Anthea Cohen remains the mistress of the icy touch.
By Nicholas Blincoe
The town of Bethlehem carries so many layers of meaning--some ancient, some mythical, some religious--that it feels like an unreal city, even to the people who call it home. Today, the city is hemmed in by a wall and surrounded by forty-one Israeli settlements and hostile settlers and soldiers. The population is undergoing such enormous strains it is close to falling apart. Any town with an eleven-thousand-year history has to be robust, but Bethlehem may soon go the way of Salonica or Constantinople: the physical site might survive, but the long thread winding back to the ancient past will have snapped, and the city risks losing everything that makes it unique.Still, for many, Bethlehem remains the "little town" of the Christmas song. Nicholas Blincoe will tell the history of the famous little town, through the visceral experience of living there, taking readers through its stone streets and desert wadis, its monasteries, aqueducts and orchards, showing the city from every angle and era. Inevitably, a portrait of Bethlehem will shed light on one of the world's most intractable political problems. Bethlehem is a much-loved Palestinian city, a source of pride and wealth but also a beacon of co-existence in a region where hopelessness, poverty and violence has become the norm. Bethlehem could light the way to a better future, but if the city is lost then the chances of an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict will be lost with it.
Backing into the Spotlight
By Michael Whitehall
'Backing into the Spotlight is a hilarious and an unashamedly non-PC memoir . . . Now in his eighth decade, Whitehall is a fine raconteur, gloriously unreconstructed and still deeply suspicious of modernity' Daily MailStanding in front of a full-length mirror in my dressing room at ITV studios, waiting to go on to the set of Backchat, I had a brief conversation with my reflection.'Michael, what the f*** do you think you're doing?'Theatrical agent Michael Whitehall spent a career pushing others into the spotlight. He had been involved behind the scenes with the careers of many prominent actors, including Colin Firth, Richard Griffiths, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Courtenay, Ian Ogilvy, Judi Dench, Edward Fox, Michael Fassbender, Angela Thorne and Nigel Havers.But then, much to his surprise, his son Jack becomes a successful comedian and actor and decides that his new comedy partner should be his father. Whitehall Snr. finds himself reluctantly appearing on stage and then television, cast as the archetypal grumpy old man and thrust, in his early seventies, into a whole new career in front of the camera. Minor fame comes at a sedate pace: one of the highlights being a record £300,000 win for charity with Jack on Channel 4's The Million Pound Drop.In this enchanting memoir Whitehall looks back on his life, from growing up in suburban London in the 1940s and '50s with his saintly father and social climbing-mother, who coined the phrase 'à la carte' to describe people who were posher than she was and whose company she craved, to falling into a career as a successful theatrical agent and producer. As he says, 'Actors can be egotistical, greedy and vain, but they're not half as bad as agents and producers.'Charming, gossipy and above all very funny, Backing Into The Spotlight is no ordinary show business memoir.
Bones of the Buried
By David Roberts
A murder mystery featuring Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne.After six months in New York, Lord Edward returns to London only for his old sparring partner, Verity Browne, to convince him to investigate a murder in Madrid. Her lover, David Griffith-Jones, has been convicted for the murder of a fellow Communist Party member and is set to face a firing squad. Against all odds, Edward clears David's name and heads back to England. Here, Edward discovers another murder, surprisingly connected to the murder back in Spain. And it isn't too long before a third mysterious murder comes to light... Edward and Verity join forces once again in search of the truth. But danger is all around them, and there is no guarantee that justice will be served and the murders avenged...Praise for David Roberts:'A classic murder mystery [...] and a most engaging pair of amateur sleuths' Charles Osborne, author of The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie'A gripping, richly satisfying whodunit with finely observed characters, sparkling with insouciance and stinging menace' Peter James'A really well-crafted and charming mystery story' Daily Mail'A perfect example of golden-age mystery traditions with the cobwebs swept away' Guardian
Being David Archer
By Timothy Bentinck
Timothy Bentinck has played the part of David Archer in BBC Radio 4's The Archers since 1982. He is also the Earl of Portland and the voice of 'Mind The Gap' on the Piccadilly Line. Aimed primarily at the five million regular Archers listeners, Timothy takes the reader behind the scenes of the longest running drama series in the world, a British institution with a theme tune that Billy Connolly wants to be the National Anthem. But that's not all. With wry, self-deprecating humour, Timothy recounts his enormously varied life - a successful actor in TV, film and theatre, a voice specialist working in every vocal medium. He's also been an HGV truck driver, a US tour guide, a computer programmer and website designer, an inventor with UK and US patents, farm worker, house renovator and he sat as a crossbencher in the House of Lords for three years.Unlike many acting memoirs, this isn't a succession of thespian tales of freezing digs, forgotten lines and name dropping. This is an articulate, funny and thoughtful account of how to survive an insecure life.
The Buy Side
By Turney Duff
The Buy Side is Turney Duff's high-adrenaline journey through the trading underworld, as well as a searing look at an after-hours Wall Street culture where sex and drugs are the quid pro quo and a billion isn't enough. In the mid-2000's, Turney Duff was, to all appearances, the very picture of American success. One of Wall Street's hottest traders, he was a rising star with Raj Rajaratnam's legendary Galleon Group before forging his own path. What few knew was that the key to Turney's remarkable success wasn't a super-genius IQ or family connections but rather a winning personality - because the real money wasn't made on the trading floor or behind a computer screen, but in whispered deals in the city's most exclusive nightspots, surrounded by the best drugs and hottest women. For Turney, this created a perilously seductive cycle: the harder he partied, the more connected and successful he became, which meant he could party even harder. In time, he became a walking paradox, an addictive mess after hours, and King of the Street from nine to five. Along the way, he learned some important lessons about himself, and the too-wild-to-believe world of Wall Street trading. In The Buy Side, the money is plentiful and the after-hours indulgence even more so, which has proved to be a bestselling and box office winning combination, as the success of The Wolf of Wall Street attests. Fans of Martin Scorsese's film and Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker and The Big Short will want to take a walk on The Buy Side.
The Bone Ritual
By Julian Lees
'Lees' strikingly descriptive writing transports you directly to the streets of Jakarta... this will make you want to book a flight right now' IndependentTaut and suspenseful, The Bone Ritual is the first in a crime series set in contemporary JakartaInspektur Ruud Pujasumarta has seen some gang-perpetrated horror crimes in his time, but the slum murder of a middle-aged woman he is called to is both horrifying and baffling. Mari Agnes Liem has not only been choked to death while tied to her bed, but the murderer has amputated her left hand and left a mah jong tile in her throat. And he has taken the hand with him.The only bright spot on Ruud's horizon is the imminent arrival of Imke Sneijder from Amsterdam, whom he hasn't seen for fifteen years, when they were both twelve-year-old neighbours before her family moved back to Holland.As Ruud and his department investigate Mari's murder, it isn't long before they have more than one corpse on their hands . . . and a serial killer to catch. And Ruud begins to realise that the current murderous spree may be linked to events which occured fifteen years ago, at about the time Imke left Indonesia . . .'Julian Lees' lush use of language conjures up the extravagant and the seedy sides of life in modern Jakarta and transports the reader to its steamy slums and palaces, ratcheting up the tension through myriad false trails, keeping the reader enthralled right up until the denouement' Crime Fiction Fix
By T.F. Muir
When a three-year old girl is reported missing, DCI Andy Gilchrist is assigned the case. But Gilchrist soon suspects that the child's mother - Andrea Davis - may be responsible for her daughter's disappearance, or worse, her murder. The case becomes politically sensitive when Gilchrist learns that Andrea is the daughter of Dougal Davis, a former MSP who was forced to resign from Scottish Parliament after being accused of physically abusing his third wife. Now a powerful businessman, Davis demands Gilchrist's removal from the case when his investigation seems to be stalling. But then the case turns on its head when Gilchrist learns that a paedophile, recently released from prison, now lives in the same area as the missing child. The paedophile is interrogated but hours later his body is found on the beach with evidence of blunt force trauma to the head, and Gilchrist launches a murder investigation. As pressure relentlessly mounts on Gilchrist, he begins to unravel a dark family secret, a secret he believes will solve the fate of the missing child.Praise for T.F. Muir:'Rebus did it for Edinburgh. Laidlaw did it for Glasgow. Gilchrist might just be the bloke to put St Andrews on the crime fiction map.' Daily Record'A truly gripping read, with all the makings of a classic series.' Mick Herron'Gripping and grisly, with plenty of twists and turns that race along with black humour.' Craig Robertson'Gilchrist is intriguing, bleak and vulnerable... if I were living in St Andrews I'd sleep with the lights on.' Anna Smith
Buried in the Country
By Carola Dunn
An isolated spot in the Cornish countryside is no safe haven when a determined foe is out for blood...Having worked for an international charity in her days before retiring to Cornwall, Eleanor Trewynn is asked by the Commonwealth Relations Office to assist in secret negotiations about to take place in a hotel just outside Tintagel. Meanwhile her niece DS Megan Pencarrow, as well as investigating the disappearance of Port Mabyn solicitor Alan Freeth, is sent to help provide security for the conference. So is her bete noire, DS Ken Faraday of the Yard. They have to escort to Tintagel two African students, refugees from Ian Smith's Southern Rhodesia. Everyone arrives at the hotel in a raging storm, as do two sinister Londoners who have followed Megan from Launceston. Who are they and why have they turned up in the depths of rural Cornwall? Are they spying for Smith? And what is their connection with the missing solicitor? The answers set the scene for murder, and take Eleanor and Megan on a chase across fog-bound Bodmin Moor in a desperate attempt to prevent further deaths. Praise for Carola Dunn: 'Adept at showing character through witty dialogue, Dunn paints an amusing picture of a small town that readers will want to visit again soon' Publishers Weekly 'Dunn has a knack for writing meatier-than-usual cosies with strong female characters, and she has another charming winner here' Booklist
Bless the Bride
By Rhys Bowen
With Molly Murphy's wedding to NYPD Captain Daniel Sullivan quickly approaching, the Irish sleuth heads to the Westchester County countryside, where his mother can lend her a hand and advise her on a bride's proper place. And shockingly, Molly seems to be agreeing. She has already promised that she'll close up her PI business and settle down after marrying, but she isn't a married woman yet. So, when she gets word of a possible case, she sneaks back into the city to squeeze in a little more sleuthing before the wedding bells can ring.A wealthy Chinese immigrant wants her to find his missing bride, and Molly - sure she isn't getting the whole story - suspects that his bride ran off. But where could she go? The only Chinese women in early-twentieth-century New York are kept under lock and key, and Molly can't help but wonder if she's saving the woman from the streets or helping to lock her away for good.Rhys Bowen's deft touch and charming wit make Bless the Bride another stellar addition to her Anthony and Agatha award-winning historical series.
Boys in the Trees
By Carly Simon
#1 New York Times BestsellerA People Magazine Top Ten Book of the Year'A sensational memoir . . . brilliantly well written. Carly Simon is incapable of writing a boring sentence . . . you can forgive anything for the unparalleled brilliance of her writing' - Lynn Barber, Sunday Times'Hugely affecting memoir . . . heartfelt and remarkable' - Fiona Sturges, IndependentCarly Simon is a household name. She was the staple of the '70s and '80s Billboard charts and was famously married to James Taylor with whom she has two children. She has had a career that has spanned four decades, resulting in thirteen top 40 hits, including the Number 1 song 'You're So Vain', numerous Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. She was the first artist in history to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her song 'Let the River Run' (from the film Working Girl). Boys in the Trees is a rhapsodic, beautifully composed memoir of a young woman's coming of age amongst the glamorous literati and intelligentsia of Manhattan (her father was Richard Simon, co-founder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster), a reflection on a life begun amidst secrets and shame, and a powerful story of the strength to leave that all behind and forge a path of art, music and love in the Golden Age of folk and rock.At once an insider's look into a life in the spotlight, a lyric reflection on a particular time in our culture's history, and a beautiful memoir about the pains and joys of love and art, Boys in the Trees is the story Carly Simon has long been waiting to tell the world.Praise for the US edition:'One of the best celebrity memoirs of the year' Hollywood Reporter'Intelligent and captivating' People'Compelling' Rolling Stone
Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache
By Martin Aston
Popular music's gay DNA is inarguable, from Elvis in eye shadow and Little Richard's 'Tutti Frutti' to The Velvet Underground's subversive rock'n'roll and Bowie's ambisexual alien Ziggy Stardust; from kd lang's female Elvis to Kurt Cobain in a dress; from Noughties lesbian icon Beth Ditto to Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' manifesto. But if collected essays and/or features have addressed gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender singers, songwriters, musicians and songs, no book has yet comprehensively and authoritatively drawn together all the threads to explore this as an unfolding, historical narrative: to tell the story of how music 'came out', from the days when homosexuals were deeply in the closet, but the love that once dared not speak its name sings it, and on daytime radio to boot.This story will reveal which songs have coded messages about sexuality, and which proudly declared the truth, including examples of heterosexual songwriters and singers who chose to address same-sex issues, from Rod Stewart's 'The Killing Of Georgie' - the first UK number one with a gay theme - to Suede's 'Animal Nitrate'. The narrative will unfold against a backdrop of historic social and political shifts, as LGBT rights pushed for visibility and equality, from the closet of the Fifties to the struggle and setbacks of the Sixties, the liberation of the Seventies, the mainstream invasion and AIDS crisis of the Eighties, the advances of the Nineties and the more immersed scene of the Noughties. These artists have indeed changed the world as we know it. Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache is a story for a wide audience, not just the LGBT community but a broad spectrum of music lovers who are fascinated by these characters, events, stories and songs. It is also a very timely tale, given the prominence of same-sex issues such as marriage equality, alongside the retrogressive steps in places such as Russia and parts of Africa, where songs encapsulating the gay/lesbian experience mirror those of the Sixties, signifying how the journey from illegality and bigotry to freedom is still far from over.
By E. S. Thomson
'It's rare that a book is Gothic enough for me, but Beloved Poison is killing it. The blood, the bones, the crumbling hospital . . .' Laura Purcell, author of The Silent CompanionsSet in a crumbling hospital in the 1850s, Beloved Poison is a richly atmospheric debut, perfect for fans of Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent and Sarah Waters.x x x Ramshackle and crumbling, St Saviour's Infirmary awaits demolition. Within its stinking wards and cramped corridors the doctors bicker and fight. Ambition, jealousy and hatred seethe beneath the veneer of professional courtesy. Always an outsider, and with a secret of her own to hide, apothecary Jem Flockhart observes everything, but says nothing.And then six tiny coffins are uncovered, inside each a handful of dried flowers and a bundle of mouldering rags. When Jem comes across these strange relics hidden inside the infirmary's old chapel, her quest to understand their meaning prises open a long-forgotten past - with fatal consequences . . .x x x Praise for E.S. Thomson'Meticulously researched and masterfully plotted, E.S. Thomson has written a complex, harrowing and highly enjoyable tale' Daily Express'Here's a tale of Victorian London to freeze your blood on a cold winter's night' Evening Telegraph'Jem Flockhart's London is vivid, pungent and perilous. The Blood takes you to places you will love to picture but be grateful you can't smell' Chris Brookmyre'E. S. Thompson's Jem Flockhart books are the best I've read in years. Jem is just my kind of heroine: scarred, smart, complex, and unapologetically queer' Kirsty Logan, author of The Gracekeepers'Jem Flockhart is a marvel . . . This vivid journey into the dark side of the human soul is a thoroughly engrossing tale' Mary Paulson Ellis, author of The Other Mrs Walker'Deliciously dark and vividly atmospheric, menace oozes from every page. Terrific for lovers of historical noir' Saga'A first class piece of historical crime writing' Big IssueA marvellous, vivid book ... immaculately researched and breathtakingly dark' Janet Ellis, author of The Butcher's Hook
The British Oak
By Archie Miles
The British Oak is a comprehensive overview of everything that the iconic oak tree signifies to Britain and its people.Archie Miles explores the rise of oak woods since the last Ice Age, placing the tree in its biological, cultural and economic context. We still speak of the 'heart of oak' that built the British Empire, such is its importance in industry, architecture and shipbuilding, while the oak's role in myth, art and literature took root in early civilisation and remains a rich imaginative resource.Included are:-Profiles of fifty of the most famous oaks in Britain with remarkable facts, stories and historic associations. -An examination of the disease, management and conservation issues facing oaks now and in the future.-Stunning photography complemented by a rich vein of archive material, much of which is published for the first time since the nineteenth century.Praise for Archie Miles:Silva has to be one of the best country books of the year, combining the opulent quality of a coffee-table book with the depth of information of a reference work. Country Life.
Blotto, Twinks and the Heir to the Tsar
By Simon Brett
Tawcester Towers, the family seat of the Lyminster family, has suffered an unwelcome injection of distant cousins, so distant that they aren't even British! Count Igor and Count Lyudmilla Bashusky had to flee Russia after the Revolution and have spent the intervening years building up debts in the hotels of Europe's capitals and sponging off ever more exasperated (and distant) relatives.The Bashusky's arrival at Tawcester Towers causes a stir, and it's up to Blotto and Twinks, that indefatigable duo, to provide a solution to get them back to Russia. Reversing the Russian Revolution and getting a Tsar back into St Petersburg's Winter Palace is just the sort of challenge the fiercely bright Twinks relishes, though her dim-witted brother Blotto shows less aptitude for the subtleties of international politics, despite his commendable bravery.The siblings soon find themselves in Berlin to try and broker a meeting with the White Russian community, and swiftly become embroiled in a world of spies, counterspies, conspiracies and counter-conspiracies. Just when things seem to be looking up, little do Blotto and Twinks realise that their plans are being monitored by the spymaster Fyodor Vlachko, a former worker on the Bushusky's estate who has now risen to a senior post in the secret police of the newly-formed Soviet Union . . .