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Behind-The-Books Blog

A Mind to Murder: a personal tribute to PD James by Mandy Morton

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

When someone famous dies we are treated to a glut of views and tributes from people who knew them, worked with them or were inspired by them. With these insights, we build up a lasting understanding of who they were and the imprint they have left behind. After the death of PD James in November last year, the expected tributes were fast and […]


The Met’s Secret Archives

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Calling all amateur sleuths – for the first time the secret archives of the Metropolitan Police are going on display in a new exhibition at the Museum of London. The city’s most inaccessible museum must surely be The Crime Museum, a macabre collection of evidence and criminal tales which was created in 1875 but has only […]


A ‘Real-Life’ Amazon Book Store?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Yes, it’s happening, Amazon opened their first brick-and-mortar store on 3rd November last week. Waterstones have already spoken out with the slightly-hilarious-yet-aggressive notion that they hope the store “falls flat on its face”. But how should we, the general public and fellow book-lovers, feel? Personally I am a little confused about how I feel. Whenever […]


Bletchley Park – guest post by author Mary Nichols

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

We’re delighted to feature this post from our author Mary Nichols. If it whets your appetite for what is on display at Bletchley Park, we’re offering subscribers to our monthly customer Books Bulletin the chance to win a family ticket. Scroll down to sign up now! In the interests of research for We’ll Meet Again, […]



Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Abebooks revealed last week what they think of as their most unusual item on their site: Edith Wharton’s baby rattle. £10,500 and it’s yours! It’s just a rattle. The Guardian describes it as simply a ‘sterling silver and coral’ rattle, engraved ‘Edith’ which Wharton even gave away to her friend’s daughter. For those looking for a pricier […]


Have my cake and eat / read it

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

As a mum to a toddler (toddler – when did that happen?!), my reading this past year has been more Julia Donaldson than Julian Stockwin. (See my last post here before starting maternity leave – ha! So many left unread…) Basically, if you find yourself in need of a slightly frazzled person to recite children’s […]


A week with the Editorial Department

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Want to know what goes on behind the scenes here at A&B? Here’s a snapshot of a week in the editorial department… MONDAY While Sophie, our editor, travels to Ely to see our lovely author Mary Nichols, discussing future projects and consuming lemon meringue pie, looking très chic… …Kelly is stuck on the Saw ride […]


Rail’s Golden Age

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

In light of Birmingham’s main station reopening after a £750m makeover, the National Railway Museum in York is using its latest exhibition to celebrate the architectural styles from the past and the Golden Age of train stations. Most of our current railway stations favour a futuristic design on the outside, with a bright and spacious […]


‘Freedom is a powerful drug': A&B author Sarah Grazebrook talks Suffragettes

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Next month sees the release of the eagerly anticipated Suffragette movie starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter, Meryl Streep and many more names of note. It inspired us to ask A&B author Sarah Grazebrook, who wrote about the suffrage movement in her novel Crooked Pieces, what is so inspiring about this moment in history. ‘Man is […]


Licence to thrill – our love affair with spies

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Next month I will be embarking on an international adventure, living the high life with an attractive partner by my side and infiltrating the shady goings-on in an illicit sinister organization with only my wits and trusty Walther PPK to help me… OK, so that’s a ‘bit’ of a tall story, what I mean of […]


Discovering London’s Time Ball

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Despite being born and raised in London, frequenting the capital’s many attractions is something I have been woefully neglectful of. Prompted by the arrival of American cousins however, I took it upon myself to become a tourist in my own city – and it was then that I discovered the concept of the Time Ball. […]


Inspiration and writing practice with A&B author Alanna Knight MBE

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Inspiration? The answer to that most-asked question is more like perspiration, constantly fighting time with six months to write one historical crime novel a year, excluding the research involved, meanwhile no coffee mornings for the novel’s duration, and my friends know the rules so it’s a quiet time. A computer at 9 a. m. is not […]


Across the Pond . . . Simplified English?

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Technically speaking, we Brits and our friends across the pond, the Americans, speak (and read) the same language. However, anyone who has ever crossed the Atlantic in either direction can tell you that isn’t quite the case. Somewhere along the way, after they dumped our tea into Boston harbour, declared their independence and grew into […]


Colouring Craze

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Five adult colouring books currently occupy Amazon’s top 20 bestseller’s list, with Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom – A Colouring Book Adventure beating Harper Lee’s anticipated Go Set a Watchman to second place, only to be outdone by Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as told by Christian. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry . […]


Disobedient Commuters

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Unused to the London commuter routine I was blown away by the queue when I stepped off my train at Vauxhall and headed for the underground, the whole of one side of the entrance was blocked by people and overflowing out of the station. The other side had sensibly been left free for passengers leaving […]


The Cheese Sloth and Other Curiosities

Friday, June 12th, 2015

The other week I went to the Embankment summer fair and spent a lovely few hours wandering around in the sunshine perusing the various stalls. One stall in particular caught my attention: Jimbobart – which is London-based designer James Ward who creates ‘a range of ceramics and illustrations centering on his expressive animal drawings.’ His charming […]


Missing Manuscripts

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Last night we heard the news that the new Fifty Shades of Grey manuscript was stolen just days before the book’s release. Police have launched an investigation amid fears that copies of the manuscript could be made and sold on the black market, or that extracts could be sold off to media outlets ahead of […]


Feline Fiction

Monday, June 8th, 2015

I spotted this article, discussing the lack of animals in adult fiction, on BookRiot, today. It’s an interesting time to stumble upon it, as we’re gearing up for the publication of the first in Mandy Morton’s delightful The No. 2 Feline Detective Series, next month. Following in the tradition of Watership Down, Black Beauty and the author’s favourite, Wind […]


Word On The Water

Friday, June 5th, 2015

I’d heard about Word on the Water – the London Bookbarge bringing you a great selection of second-hand books to buy – long before I saw them. The barge travels along the canal, which runs from west London to Hackney and east London – and so finding them isn’t always easy (although if you are more […]


150 Curious Years of Alice

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was first published in 1865. It has never been out of print since. Carroll first wrote it for Alice Liddell, a child who was the daughter of a family friend. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a little girl named Alice tumbles down a rabbit hole and finds the […]


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