Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

The discovery of the murder of Lord William Russell. Credit: Bridgeman Images

The Victorian melodrama that led to murder and mayhem

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Early on the morning of 6 May 1840, a young housemaid in a respectable Mayfair street discovered that her master,…

Before fleeing to London, Emmanuel Barthélemy commanded a barricade during the June Days uprising in Paris in 1848. Painting by Tony-François de Bergue

The cruel end of Emmanuel Barthélemy –as a waxwork in the Chamber of Horrors

26 May 2018 9:00 am

This is a biography that begins with a bang, swiftly followed by puddles of blood, shrieks of ‘Murder!’ and a…

Darwin was a martyr to ill-health all his life, and was patiently nursed by his wife Emma, whom he called ‘Mammy’

A flawed and dangerous theory

2 September 2017 9:00 am

If there were a prize awarded to the book with the best opening line, A. N. Wilson would be clearing…

A real-life Tristram Shandy – found in a skip

30 April 2016 9:00 am

Most modern biographers feed off celebrity like vampires let loose in a blood bank. That is why their books sell:…

‘Nocturne in Grey and Gold’ by James McNeill Whistler, 1874

London fog: from the Big Smoke to the Big Choke

7 November 2015 9:00 am

‘A foggy day in London town,’ croons Fred Astaire in the 1937 musical comedy A Damsel in Distress, puffing nonchalantly…

A misery memoir from Alan Cumming that's surprisingly thoughtful

15 November 2014 9:00 am

Misery loves company. Anyone who doubts this old adage should pop into their local bookshop, because besides celebrity chefs and…