One of my hobbies is painting as in pictures – not walls, although I should be decorating as our house could do with it. I recently had pictures in 2 different exhibitions. The first at Open Door in Berkhamsted ran for two weeks and I sold a few paintings so quite pleased about that.

These are some of mine

The second exhibition was last weekend at Basing House in Rickmansworth. None of my paintings sold but it was visited by more than 150 people and some seemed keen to join the Rickmansworth and District Art society which is part of the objective of the exhibition.

Extraordinary Insects Harper Collins £14.99

I interviewed Dr Anna Sverdrup-Thygeson about her book Extraordinary Insects. What a treat! The book does for Entomology what Brian Cox has done for astrophysics. See my review for further details. From cicadas that can count to Parasitic wasps making the their homes inside ladybirds the world of insects is a fascinating one. There are so many great stories, all told in an easy readable style. When the world is concerned about climate change and the fact that a million species are threatened with extinction this is a timely book and I cannot recommend it highly enough!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessica Fellowes about her new book, The Mitford Murders.  The book is planned to be the first in a series of books set in the 1920’s, with a mysterious murder at the heart of the story, which the Mitford sisters will assist in solving. The first concerns a real life murder, not solved by the police. Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of the famous Florence Nightingale is murdered on a train between getting on at Waterloo and the South Coast. It was apparently a big scandal at the time as she had been a nurse in both the Boer War and the First World War and had been at Ypres. She had not long returned when she was murdered.

Jessica Fellowes has woven a clever story around this event. I asked her if there were enough unsolved murders for there to be one for each Mitford and it would seem there are if one includes open verdicts. We discussed the difficulty of writing about characters that people feel they know and Jessica told me she rather enjoyed the challenge of dropping in little nuggets of behaviour which are known to be true among all the imagined ones.

I shall be recommending this book on my next radio slot, on September 27th.

Jessica Fellowes 2 cropped