Friday, 25 December 2009


Go on, admit it, there’s nothing you like better over the Christmas holiday season than to sit down with a steady supply of sensory stimulants and get stuck into a good old detective story.

The trouble is that it’s sometimes hard to reconcile books with titles such as Ten Little Niggers (written by a woman with a deep prejudice against ‘sallow men with hooked noses’) with the PC protocols of our day.

Enter my friend and erstwhile collaborator Mat Coward, who has just published a socialist detective story set in ‘London in the near future: transport is horse-drawn, food is rationed, fuel is scarce and wastefulness is illegal.’ As well as providing the requisite gripping yarn, Acts of Destruction is both witty (‘Is it a murder?’ ‘Well it’s a crime, if only illegal disposal of a body’) and wide-ranging in its incidental detail.

Just as you’d expect from someone who moonlights as the Morning Star’s gardening correspondent, an indefatigable pro-smoking campaigner (who once sent me a 100,000-word anti-anti-smoking tract when I was a couple of days into an attempt to stop), and one of the elves (that’s what they’re called) who provide the material for Stephen Fry’s QI programme.

You can buy the book on Mat Coward's website

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