The Oaken Heart of Village Life

Neil D'Arcy Jones of the Essex County Standard said he wished he had a job like mine. He thoroughly enjoyed meeting Alan Smith (son of Albert Smith, the Tolleshunt D'Arcy handyman who was such a practical and reassuring presence in the village) and Nora Curtis who had been a young wife and mother during the WW2 years.  Neil was right, of course, hearing the stories of people who experienced the events which are recorded in the new edition of The Oaken Heart has been a marvellous experience for which I am deeply grateful. But I wouldn't want him to undervalue his own expertise. From a morning's interviewing he produced a delightful article. Click here to read it.


How Essex Beat the Blitz

Generous and perceptive appreciation by Simon Heffer - entirely gets the point of this village book. Read it!


Sarah Weinman in the Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal published a 'reputations' feature on Margery Allingham this weekend. Written by astute U.S. critic Sarah Weinman it probably didn't tell Allingham fans anything they didn't already know but it said it elegantly, authoritatively and in a good place.


from the same hymn sheet

How many books, I wonder, are recommended almost simultaneously in Shots Magazine and the Church Times? The answer this month would be The Oaken Heart. Both Mike Ripley and Ronald Blythe advise their readers to look out for the new edition. The Essex Book Festival event is on March 24th and publication date is March 3rd. CLICK HERE for the advance information sheet.



Declan Burke picks Margery Allingham

On the Crime Always Pays website Declan Burke says that the crime novel he would most like to have written is Allingham's Tiger in the Smoke - "very old fashioned but quite brilliant ... you have to read it in one sitting." A notable tribute from Ireland noir.