Lew Grade was Mr Showbusiness. Agent, television boss and latterly movie producer, he brought the likes of Louis Armstrong to the London Palladium, The Muppets to the small screen and Sophie’s Choice to the big one.
Exuberant and witty, as an agent he complained that “the clients [Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan among them] got to keep 90 per cent of my earnings.”
His leadership of ATV helped shape commercial TV, introducing Sunday Night at the London Palladium among other variety, game and quiz shows.
Arsenal has played a big part in Brian Glanville’s life. They were the team his father supported, they were the first club side he ever watched and, as a child in the 1930s and ’40s, he was obsessed by the team, particularly their star player Eddie Hapgood, to whom he wrote regular fan letters.
The problem for Ahron Bregman in updating his book, first published in 1999 and reissued in 2001, is that Israel’s wars are like London buses; nothing for a while, then they come in clusters. He has amplified his chapter on the Al-Aqsa intifada of 2000-05, and included an appraisal of the 2006 Second Lebanon War. But last year’s foray into Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, came too late.
This remarkably self-conscious book is about one man’s strivings to become the new Simon Wiesenthal. It is also a painful record of just how difficult it is to bring war criminals to justice. Again and again, Efraim Zuroff is forced to admit that the Nazis he went after got away with their crimes on account of the complexities of legal jurisdiction and the unwillingness of so many governments to act.
Once, Ty was a misfit in school, tagging along behind cooler boys. But then he witnessed a stabbing. And now he is Joe, because the police have changed his identity to protect him. When I Was Joe is the debut novel from the JC’s own Keren David (Frances Lincoln, £6.99).
Great storytellers reflect their times, and Stefan Zweig lived through terrible times. Yet a writer whose task it is to shed light upon darkness can also offer redemption, and it is this, in the shape of the redeeming power of love, that lies at the heart of these narratives.
Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters combines the acuity of a legal mind — its author Louis Begley was a lawyer for 45 years — with the sensibility of a novelist (he wrote, among other novels, About Schmidt and Matters of Honour). The result is a brilliant work of historical storytelling, reminding us to what extent the drama is in the detail.
When Hollywood types began seeking treatment for sex addiction in the 1990s, cynical Brits dismissed it as a “condition” cooked up by serial adulterers who needed a clinical alibi to get off the hook. But it seems we were wrong.
Frank Tallis’s sixth adventure for his Viennese psychoanalyst, Deadly Communion, (Century, £12.99) is heavy on the psych and not much cop, frankly, on the analysis — I had the murderer pegged halfway through.
Not only that, but Tallis’s eagerness to pin the crime on the, er, donkey, requires a stunt so wildly improbable that it would be bizarre even if carried out in the present day, let alone in the more staid, 19th-century Vienna.