Books & Entertainment


The final update to this section



  • The Dry by Jane Harper Crime thriller, Aaron Falk returns to his hometown in Australia to mourn and inevitably investigate his best friend's apparent suicide.
  • The Lost Man by Jane Harper Three generations of women - the dead man's mother, wife and daughters - struggle to come to terms with terrible events. Set in the Australian Outback
  • Old Baggage by Lissa Evans Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and and uneventful present. During the Women's Suffrage Campaign she was a militant and jailed five times. Nothing since then has had the same excitement
  • The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes A novel deftly evoking the complexity of Shostakovich's relationship with Stalin and the power of his oevre, thick with period detail.
  • The Phoenix of Florence by Philip Kazan Set in Renaissance Italy deep in the Tuscan countryside a long-held feud between two aristocratic families ends in tragedy leaving only one young girl alive who vows to survive at all costs
  • The Sealwoman's Gift by Sally Magnusson In 1627 pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted 400 people into slavery in Algiers. Among them a pastor, his wife and their children. In her first novel Magnusson imagines the experiences of Asta the pastor's wife as she faces her losses with the stories from home and forging an ambiguous bond with the man who bought her.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Part murder mystery, part coming of age - a story of Kya an abandoned child set in the desolate marshlands of the North Carolina coast set in the 50s and 60s
  • Strangers in their own land by Arlie Russell Hochschild Sociologist Hochschild investigates the political divide in the United States as evinced by Louisiana a deeply conservative red state facing environmental degradation and widespread poverty - asking the question why do those living in polluted states want less federal oversight from environmental agencies rather than more?
  • Thinking Again by Jan Morris Travel writer Jan Morris originally James Morris found global fame covering Hillary's ascent of Everest. She died in November 2020 aged 94. This is a diary written by her covering 130 days from spring 2018.


  • THE INVESTIGATION BBC iPlayer "A docudrama of a bizarre murder in Denmark a few years ago. The chief detective just manages to stay this side of catatonia. Not a demonstrative lot the Danes."
  • ANNE WITH AN E on Netflix The story of Anne Shirley an imaginative strong willed orphan who transforms the lives of those she encounters after being sent to live with elderly siblings on Prince Edward Island in 1890. Adapted for tv series from the book Anne of Greengables
  • THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCOLN. A friendship between two men unfolds when they are both on the run. Gentle and uplifting.
  • THE CONSTANT GARDENER. Amazon Prime Adapted from a John Le Carre novel tells the story of British diplomat Justin Quayle whose activist wife is murdered. Starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz


We have been making recommendations on the podcast for Chichester Cinema at New Park for films you can stream at home, as usual, and these are mine this month.

Venus (2006) is on All 4 for a short while and then available from Microsoft and Amazon for rent.

Peter O'Toole plays an elderly actor, Maurice, who spends a lot of time with his old friend Ian, Leslie Phillips. Ian calls in his niece's daughter from up north to look after him and Jessie, future Dr Who Jodie Whittaker in her first film role, turns out to be pretty hopeless. She attempts to use the aged roué Maurice, but he nicknames her Venus after the Rokeby Venus painting by Velasquez, and tries to form some sort of mismatched relationship. It is great fun to watch O'Toole and Phillips as the fading thespians bitching at each other and being wonderfully sweary. It is directed by Roger Michel who gave us Notting Hill among other things, and the screenplay was by Hanif Kureishi. O'Toole got an Oscar best actor nomination.

The 39 Steps has been filmed at least four times, and the first, in 1935, is still the best. It is based on the John Buchan book, but director Alfred Hitchcock and writers Charles Bennet and Ian Hay took it their own way, especially with the well-known climax. Robert Donat is Richard Hannay who is accidentally caught up in murder, spying and more, and has to go on the run. It's in turns exciting, intriguing and funny, especially with Hannay's relationship with Pamela, Madeleine Carroll, whose paths keep crossing, and the film glides along towards that memorable denouement. It's available to watch on the iPlayer.

For more recommendations, and film clips, the podcast for Chichester Cinema at New Park can be found at A quick way to find out which platform you can stream a film from is to go to It's not perfect but pretty good.