Malaya Emergency

I hadn’t realised why the Malayan Emergency was called that until reading War of the Running Dogs by Noel Barber. Apparently by avoiding the term ‘war’ the authorities ensured that insurance claims would not be nullified as the small print specified in cases of ‘civil war’.

The book has marvellous vignettes of Chinese Special Branch agents who burgled shops — hidden in unloaded cases of tinned pineapple — without the CT watchers outside realising that the pineapple truck had not suffered any old puncture.

Anyway, a rip-roaring yarn amidst the planters with their stengahs!

An autumn note

“For many, the end of this uneasy year cannot come quickly enough”

An ordinary killing

Ian Cobain’s book uses the killing of Millar McAllister to paint a meticulous portrait of the Troubles

Greater—not wiser

John Mullan elucidates the genius of Charles Dickens