Imperial Cleaning

Disney Unveils Inaugural Streaming Service Launch Slate To Town; No R-Rated Fare

The tablets were the idea and creation of Victorian painter and sculptor G. April 30, at 1:

Treaty bodies Sessions

Admiralty business and meetings

But alas all is not perfect, a closer look at the label reveals that Splenda, the sugar substitute, is utilized as well inn lieu of real sugar. I am not a proponent of Splenda and aim personally wary of the long term effects of man made sugar substitutes. But if your looking for a zero calorie refresher Arizona Diet Green Tea with Ginseng is your beverage.

If you would like to become a contributor, please contact us. The regular version I tried was the Green Tea with Ginseng and Plum Juice, and believe it or not, the diet green tea tasted better. I lost weight giving up sodas… Now I just drink water and green tea.

But ginseng raises my blood pressure. Also the person above mentioned diarreah? This stuff taste pretty good but I am trying to drink nothing but water as I work on my transformation. I will be drinking it again once I am done.

I disagree with the poster of this article. Tea, which is of course made with water, is the best drink to take in.

You get the best of both worlds, therefor X2 your liquid intake experience. Natural green tea is the way to go. It gives you a kick, and healthy as heck. Thank u that wat I wanted to know cause I just started drinking Arizona GreenTea with Ginseng and honey for like a month and I see the weight lost and see the diffent me and my husband….

Iam loving it ….: I love the green tea but have not tried the diet verison. Does it taste like a diet drink? I guess it is probably healthier then the origianl version. I was SO dissapointed when I found out this had Splenda in it! I was thinking this is the miracle drink until that. I love the Arizona Gingsen Green tea. I usually drink the cans ; first time I see this hudge bottle.

There is less than 1gm of sweetener per 8 fl oz. I just picked up the same size bottle at the store, today. I also agree with Robert. Everyone here drinks green tea. I agree with the review, too! I think 3 cups a day is about right. Thanks for the review! So excited to try it out! People should research these prepared teas. Those policy markers should impose ban on soft drink and encourrage people to drink green tea. This may be one of the reasons why Pat saw some improvement in switching to Pepsi since it has much more of the fake stuff than Arizona green tea.

I choose water as my drink of choice. This is old, but as I was reading through this you were the first person who actually pointed out the fatal flaw in using this product while attempting to lose weight. Donna, it does contain caffeine. I have seen a decaffinated version in stores. Same label, but with a black background. According the the Arizona website, the diet green tea contains 7.

This morning, I drank 3 cups of this, and my libido has been through the roof. No, I do not have ED or any other health issues. I am a normal 29 year old male. My desire to be gratified was so intense this morning, that I sent an email to my wife suggesting we both take off work the rest of the day. Of course, I did not mention the ginseng. I figured it was better if she just thinks that I find her irrestible and cannot stop thinking about her.

All in all though, I agree that this is a great, refreshing beverage that delivers an energy boost, while not making you feel tense as coffe does from time to time.

Has anyone actually lost weight after drinking cups a day? Im just asking looking to lose 20 lbs. Get back to me! A friend of mine got me hooked on Arizona Diet Green Tea. But unfortunately he can only get this when he travels to the United States! I live near Oakville, Ontario, Canada and I was wondering if anyone knows if there is somewhere to purchase it around here. Thanks for your help!!!

Email required will not be published. Steampunk novels aren't always set in London, just mostly. Their central conceit is a Victorian era where steam technology has developed to a degree that, for example, steam-powered cars and automatons are possible.

I've included some less steam-powered alternative Victorian Londons here too. In this hellish version East London is made up of vast looming and ramshackle towers and Whitechapel is walled off and is the lair of the two ruling deities, Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock.

The book is about the rebellion against these steam-powered gods, unsurprisingly, with much made of the way in which humans, through surgery as well as a strange disease, are everywhere become half machine - infected with machine parts and becoming boiler-powered. This is all very visceral and Japanese anime-inspired, and makes this a book not for the squeamish.

You'll spot Matrix -y details too, amongst the more usual steam-punk elements; which is not to say that this is merely derivative - it does a fine and fairly fresh job of combining Gormenghast baroque strangeness with Dickensian squalor.

The conclusion relies maybe too much on drastically shifting allegiances and trippy dreamy sequences, but on balance this entertains quite mightily.

There are other big cities in the UK outside London you know. He lives and works in a shadow-filled bookshop in Cecil Court. His employer is a bit of a radical, has meetings with Karl Marx and Mrs Beeton, but is, it turns out, a robot.

As is Lord Byron, who's best mate is the chess-playing Turk automaton. Henry Irving gets blown up early on, the Queen is a lizard, the race of lizards plans to send a probe to Mars, and whales sing in the Thames. Moriarty is the prime minister, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes put in appearances OK, so your get the picture: London locations centre around the Strand and Covent Garden, and the alleys and pubs reek nicely.

I found the grip loosening a bit towards the end, what with the somewhat unsurprising twist given that our hero doesn't know who his parents were. This twist is also somewhat thrown away in the rush to the end. But there's enough that's new and surprising here to keep them pages turning, not least the overall book-centric theme.

The sequel, called Camera Obscura, is set in the same elegantly skewed world, but the action takes place in Paris and our heroine is an Amazon with a big gun and lots of attitude. Dan Vyleta Smoke The central, and impressively strange, conceit of this novel is of a world where human beings give off noxious Smoke when thinking wicked thoughts or doing evil.

Victorian England here is a very pious and class-divided country, and Thomas and Charlie are boys at a boarding school near Oxford that very much reflects society.

A school trip to Smoke-choked and soot-covered London leaves them confused and excited. The action doesn't totally transfer to London until the last third of the book, but it's an unrestrainedly ruined and hellish version that won't soon leave your imagination. The echoes and resonances around good and evil, cleanliness and filth, rich and poor, and crime and piety stew and stir all through.

But after a while you have to forget metaphor-spotting, as the story progresses and the true nature of Smoke is slowly revealed. This is more an alternate-England tale than a steampunk one, as the technology available elsewhere in Europe is actually suppressed by the government.

Patrick Hamilton Twenty thousand streets under the sky Set in London between the wars, this is a trio of stories dealing with the lives of a trio of characters connected with a pub.

There's a real pub in the area called The Prince of Wales Feathers which was a favourite of Hamilton's. The characters are Bob, the waiter, and Ella, the barmaid of the pub, and the prostitute for whom the waiter fatally falls, called Jenny. The first book painfully details Bob's desperate and self-deceiving need to imagine her love as he spends all his money on her and misinterprets her need and deception.

The second part concentrates on the episode in Jenny's early life that formed her character and career. The last part is centred around Ella. It's a very London-exploring novel - Soho especially gets walked through comprehensively, and there are excursions into the fleshpots of Hammersmith and Chiswick. And like most novels of the early 20th century reading this makes one mourn again the passing of the Lyons Corner House.

He lived the life, of course, drinking to excess and an early death, and having his own unhappy relationship with a prostitute just prior to this book's publication. An essential gem of London fiction. Beyond this bald statement of plot is woven a story of secret tunnels, security, threat, and much real dirt. There's a parallel plot strand telling of our hero Casimir's childhood in post-war Poland, which alternates with the main plot through the book, but which is fascinating enough in itself not to make one yearn for the return of he 'real' story.

He's awakened by big noises as the police gain entry. They drag him away and he notices the ragged hole in the window through which, it turns out, his father had been forcibly ejected a little earlier. So begins Saul's unique tale, during which he finds out his mother was a rat, literally.

The story mixes myth and muck, modern music and violence, grime and murder - the result is a weird and occasionally nasty tale of a man whose life becomes a big confusing mess as he becomes aware of his background, and the nature of the man who is pursuing him and murdering his friends. It's heavily wrapped up in the drum 'n' bass music scene of the mids, and hence has dated a little quaintly, as d'n'b has failed to live up to its promise as THE millennial multicultural music and is now a pretty minor influence, surviving in its mutation into grime.

But the breakbeats do add a sharp flavour to the mix of traditional storytelling and urban degeneration, with horror-film touches. Not a book you'll forget or read anything else like real soon, I think. A lso anyone who can get all elegiac about Willesden deserves our attention. His second novel Perdido Street Station was even better.

He also has a story in a collection called Cities , edited by Peter Crowther, called The Tain , which tells of a chaotic post-apocalyptic London which has been laid waste by vampiric angry reflections of ourselves. To say more would spoil the plot, which involves Venice a little too. The story sees two teenage girls dropping into an alternative London, where all the rubbish goes, and which is plagued by a sentient evolution our old s smog, here called Smog.

One of the girls, Zanna, is the chosen one, who, it is said, will come and vanquish all foes. The other is called Deeba and befriends a milk carton called Curdle. There's a crack team of martial-arts trained rubbish bins called The Binja, and the boss of the very handy broken umbrellas is called Brokkenbroll.

I know that I'm not the target audience here, but I can't see a teenager having any more patience than me with a book whose plot hardly zips along and rarely surprises, and which has a certain flatness of characterisation and detail. There's masses of weird stuff all around, but not much texture.

File under Large Disappointment. A photo taken at the time of Royle's break-ins. Being in the NOW still means looking forward and looking back, mostly.

Plus some post-Potter magick ing. Whispers Under Ground The third in what is now being called the Rivers of London series begins with a body found on a platform at Baker Street tube station.

The victim seems to have been stabbed with a shard of pottery that reeks of magic. Peter Grant, now less of a rookie and now pretty clued up on matters supernatural, but still ripe for sniggers from colleagues, is called in. And so begins an investigation that bounces all over London, from Tate Modern to Portobello Road, and this time involves the FBI in the shape of a female agent - aren't they always?

Extending the whole underground mystique thing to include the Crossrail project adds freshness to the talk of secret tunnels and mysterious underground residents.

The blackness of our hero is being made more explicit as the volumes pass, for some reason, even down to newly-introduced white characters now being described as, say 'a white woman'. The author's style is getting smoother and more confident as the volumes go by too, though, and the humour is getting subtler and suaver I think. The police bits and the warm humanity bits are still all present and believable, and the pacing still stately but gripping.

About half way in our heroes drop through the floor of a fake house and start to explore underground. I suggest that you make sure that your time is your own for a while, as things progress unputdownably for a good few chapters. Well up to scratch. Broken Homes Stuff gets serious South of the River, says the strapline on the cover of this one, but the action actually begins South of London, in Surrey - a weird car accident in Crawley involving a vague driver and some unexplained blood stains.

As Crawley is known locally and colloquially as Creepy Crawley we might expect some strangeness to ensue, but no: So our heroes' attention is diverted elsewhere as a man jumps under a tube train, seemingly not of his own volition, and a rare and powerful German grimoire turns up in Cecil Court.

The authentic London detailing and police lore is spot on, as ever, as is Grant's winning personality, and soon a somewhat ramshackle beginning develops into too much suspicious activity focused on a tower block near the Elephant and Castle. Architecture looms big, as a subject and a big pile of concrete, as our heroes go undercover on a sink estate and events move to a spectacular and shocking conclusion.

The author is comfortably taking the long view, plot wise, so that each novel now fits into the bigger - and humanly-interesting - arc and we eagerly await developments. Foxglove Summer The fifth outing for everyone's favourite black Magic Detective sorry! Here he volunteers to help out the search for two missing girls, and his particular skillset is soon needed.

He continues to describe all the white people as white people, which gets a bit repetitive in rural England, as you can imagine. No London content this time, but lots of countryside stuff like trees, sheep, flowers and unicorns. So my review is just to reassure you that this is a worthy continuation of the story arc, full of all the usual smart and varied references to current culture with believable characters and policing details amongst the down-to-earth supernatural stuff.

The sixth one, The Hanging Tree , was due out 21st September , said online shops, but the release date was 'in flux' according to the man himself. It was published on 3rd November , with early online reviewers accusing it of being a book which sets up its sequel and leaves you, um, hanging.

Chloe Aridjis Asunder A book about a woman who works as a guard in the National Gallery from an author whose previous first novel I enjoyed - what's not to like? Well, like indeed, but not quite love, although I suspect I might yet be haunted. The set up is fascinating enough: Art and events in the history of the National Gallery are key, to varying degrees, with attacks on paintings a strong and currently topical theme, reflecting others.

The visit to Paris mentioned in the blurb takes a while to materialise and then mysteriously shakes everything up. All is low-key and plain, but oddly gently strange with it. A puzzling but pleasing read. Ballard Millennium people The central conceit - that the middle class residents of Chelsea Marina decide to throw off their comfortable shackles and revolt - has plenty of legs and keeps this novel galloping along.

The tone, despite the bombs and murders, is just this side of satire. The action is set mostly in West London and out to Heathrow Airport, but other millennial hotspots like the Tate Modern and Tooting also feature, with events like the murder of Jill Dando and the Hungerford killings mixed in too. The observation and detail especially the descriptions of the affluent revolutionaries' materiel confirm Ballard's reputation as a master of now, like William Gibson below, and it's all worryingly convincing, especially that such revolt could stem from the search for some meaning by people whose lives can seem meaningless.

In a world where we Westerners fear people because their religious beliefs are so much stronger than our own, what indeed do we have to believe in?

This lost part of London can be reached through the outpipe of the sewer that was once the Fleet River, by Blackfriars Bridge an important locale in Stone Heart too.

It's a lot like Victorian London, only more so and more dark, as it's inhabitants are the scum of that time. Our hero and another boy are to be snatched to take part in a grim gladiatorial combat in Darkside, which is the only mundane plot element in what is otherwise a fresh and gripping read. This type of book needs believable characters and actions to survive its unbelievable otherness, and it has them.

If you want to visit the Darkside one of the ways through is via the Down Street disused tube station. Failing that this book sets things up nicely for a sequel or two. And sequels have there been - Lifeblood, Nighttrap, Timecurse and Blackjack. It tells of one boy's formative hour adventure after he annoys a statue, and so gets suddenly sucked into the 'other' London inhabited by statues, gargoyles and sundry walking remnants of London's past.

It's written for older children, and so will painlessly and grippingly introduce them to episodes in London's history and their stone reminders. Us older readers will be able to follow, and anticipate, our hero's progress geographically, whilst admiring the evocation of his moving emotional growth too. The characters he meets and recruits, and the relationships that develop, are also pleasingly believable and odd and ambiguous. The action-packed progress gallops through history and around the streets, until we reach the surprising and sequel-suggestive end.

The sequels are called Iron Hand and Silvertongue. Russell Hoban Linger awhile Somewhat shamefully this is my first Hoban, but the plot just could not be ignored.

Having fallen in love with the long-dead star of a long-forgotten black and white cowboy film Irv gets a friend to clone her, using a process involving a screen-capture, Photoshop, some primordial stew and a number of frogs. Her appearance when the gunk is washed off is somewhat less than attractive - she's all black and white you see, and that makes her nipples less than yummy-looking.

To give her some colour and vim she needs blood, either transfused or sucked from a nearby neck. As so her admirers and victims grow in number. It's all good, gruesome, and sometimes touching fun, but it's soon over and one is left entertained but not mightily moved. Worth a read if the weirdness appeals, though, and the London feel is real and includes authentic haunts of yours truly like Berwick Street market and Gaby's restaurant. Stewart Home Down and out in Shoreditch and Hoxton This one begins with a prostitute and her client discussing the history of whores in literature.

She lives on the Boundary estate behind Shoreditch Church, just north of Spitalfields. The estate was built after the clearance of the notorious slums, amongst London's worst, immortalised in Arthur Morrison's Child of the Jago.

Shoreditch is the unlovely district of my birth and youth, but now it's an unlovable area of self-conscious artsy fartiness where no-one with good taste in haircuts and spectacle frames ventures. Through these mean designer coffee bars and edgy art galleries this book's characters must pass, and talk, and fuck and talk and talk and, well, I got bored with the lack of plot and surfeit of chat and repetition, and gave up.

Sorry but life is too short. Ian McEwan Saturday I f you've ever wondered what 24 would be like set in London and starring not Keifer Sutherland, but a doctor on his day off, then here's your book.

We follow Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon, through Saturday 15th February as he wakes early, goes for a game of squash, visits his mother, and buys fish for a family reunion happening that evening. On the way he has menacing encounters, skims the huge anti-Iraq War demonstration, and remembers and ponders and wonders. London is so sharply evoked you can taste it, and the nowness of the observations and issues adds tang to the book's appeal.

Not at all a hard read, but a very moving and compulsive one. Conrad Williams London Revenant We're talking seriously dark in the underbelly department here, so you'll need a strong stomach and the ability to accept that you're not going to know what's actually happening and what's 'merely' being dreamt.

It's an underground rollercoaster of the dark and grim and visceral, and it works, if overdoing the smelly and gory at times. Something is pushing people under tube trains and causing derailments, it seems to be a renegade from a race of people who live underground. Up top Adam, our hero, is having narcoleptic episodes and drifting away from friends who seem to be finding nice places in London that don't exist, whilst drifting towards people who don't seem all there.

The action ranges across and under a London you'll recognise from your experience and from reading about what's under London, real and imagined. There are also many real cats and a cunning plot device involving the Cocteau Twins, which press two of my big buttons, to be sure. This is a book that keeps you guessing and reading and grossed out and impressed right up to the final pages, which are as surprising and wrenching and humane as you could wish for.

But I persevered, because the writing is undoubtedly superior despite an annoying tendency for gratuitous use of the long word when a short one would do and I wanted to see just how much more grossed out I could get. The plot revolves around a woman who is escaping with her weird-behaving daughter from her old life and a psycho who makes Mr Lector look like a favourite uncle. The there's a photographer in London who gets chatting to a very strange man in a pub and soon begins seeing people who aren't there and developing a strange hunger.

Cannibalism is a big theme and developments will soon have you quietly retching even if you're not a vegetarian. The photographer slips into a grainy West End of London empty of people at one stage, which is a very memorable sequence, and visits Abney Park Cemetery, which is a very visible thumb-tack in my own mental map of London.

I don't read much horror and so I don't know if the tendency for everybody, let alone everything, to be unrelentingly nasty is typical, but it can get a bit wearing if you like some light with your shade. But if what I've said whets your appetite this is surely a thing for you.

For all my frequent flinching I had to finish it, as it surely fairly reeks of London, painting an unforgettable picture of a quiet and deserted London where the streets are full of abandoned cars and scenes of unimaginable nastiness.

The final flight from the West End to the Thames is especially gripping. It is often cited as one of the very first post-apocalyptic novels, being set in England after an unexplained catastrophe has emptied the cities and drastically reduced the population. Reading it reveals it to be not a book about London at all, but more a paean to nature. Great pleasure, and length, is taken describing the way the wilderness has returned, and descriptions of nature and weather are a major, and somewhat tedious, part of the narrative.

The story is more of an enjoyable historical-novel experience than a scary post-apoc sci-fi thriller, as the idea is that the country has reverted to a pseudo-medieval social structure and morality. Our drippy aristocratic hero flees his martial family in an attempt to find a place for himself, and in the process impress his girlfriend and her family. It's really a fore-runner of all those stories where the sensitive and geeky son tries to make it in a world of jocks.

I read it with pleasure, but with a fair amount of skipping. It's not really a London read at all, then, although there is an oddly trippy episode late in the book when our hero accidentally wanders into the weird and noxious site that was once the city.

This one sees Sinclair and his photographer shadow Marc Atkins visiting typical Sinclair haunts and writing about and photographing them. The ground is becoming familiar to fans and may well be losing its novelty somewhat. The photos are good enough but will, I think, become more fragrant with some hindsight, like Atget's photographs of Paris.

The pair of Lost London books which I reviewed here were essential and engrossing additions to all reputable London bookshelves. And now they've even managed to revitalise a somewhat stale format - photos of interiors of buildings you've never been in - with a book of superb colour photos and witty text, and with a title avoiding the use of the word 'secret'. The book covers the usuals The Freemasons Hall, the Kingsway Tram Subway, the Royal Courts of Justice along with many fresher choices the Pathology Museum, St Etheldreda's church, Middlesex Hospital Chapel but all get photographed with rare art and skill, by one Derek Kendall that's one of his right , and written about with historical rigour and wit.

Did you know, for example, that Etheldreda is the name from which the modern name Audrey is derived, and that the trade in talismans sold in the Middle Ages in the name Saint Etheldreda has given us the word 'tawdry'? The page layouts are also a lesson in the efficient deployment of photographs of different sizes. A joy and an education between hard covers.

It's gets its name from being the favoured lunching spot of Post Office workers and its charm from wall of ceramic tablets commemorating Heroic Self Sacrifice that's one above. It also has some finely weathered old gravestones from when it used to be a churchyard and two burial grounds. The tablets were the idea and creation of Victorian painter and sculptor G. They commemorate acts of bravery that lead to the death of the perpetrator, retold in tasteful text and quirky detail.

This informative little book, first self-published in , has been updated and published by The Watts Gallery, the memorial museum to that admirable chap in Surrey. In Pursuit of London Well here's a thing, and a lovely thing too.

It tries to be an artefact and a work of art in itself, and I'd say it succeeds. The presentation is wacky, sparse and illustration-dominated and the order of the information is alphabetical but eccentric.

The Dust chapter contains pages devoted to sewage, rubbish, cemeteries and pea soupers, for example. So this is not a book for looking stuff up in. The facts mostly match the presentation for originality, but it's arguable that they play second fiddle. Another way of putting it is that if you don't like the style you might find getting at the content a bit frustrating.

But you probably will love the look, and so the book. Granta 65 London the lives of the city It's our country's best literary mag, it's quarterly, it's paperback-sized, and it's biggest issue so far is devoted to 'the most vibrant, the hippest, the coolest of the great global cities'. New York, Paris and Tokyo being the other three. It's the usual mix of fiction, reportage, travel-writing and a sprinkling of photos.

Ian Parker provides a fascinating piece on traffic - no, really - exploring mega-jams, white-line painting and the weird science of traffic control. There are stories of lives lived in London and theories about why we just have to live here. And Martin Rowson draws four very funny maps of literary London down the ages. Stephen Halliday The Great Stink of London Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the cleansing of Victorian London It was the Great Stink of , when the steamy summer temperatures brought home to Members of Parliament - even behind the closed windows of the Houses of Parliament - the fragrant consequences of the sewage of two million Londoners being pumped straight into the Thames.

It fell to Joseph Bazalgette to come up with something to replace the old pipes and shift the shit somewhere else. This he did so well that his system of sewers, pumping stations and treatment works still forms the basis of London's network. The book tells a good story somewhat repetitively, and could have done with some harsher editing.

Bazalgette's importance to the layout and history of London is undeniable - the Victoria, Albert and Chelsea Embankments weren't built solely for traffic, there's plenty flowing underneath too. These embankments narrowed the Thames, and made some prime riverside properties, like Somerset House and the lovely lost Adelphi, into road-side properties. This book tells the story well enough, but leaves the way open for something terser and more gripping. But your Christmas day first read might knock the shine off a bit.

It's not a bad book, at all, but it is odd. The first section is a sequence of eight chapters dealing with different periods in London's history, from Londinium to The Twentieth century , with five or six pages of history followed by pages of illustrations, some of them fascinating. The chapter on Spitalfields, one of London's most fascinating and history-full areas, has just one, and it's pretty boring. Another odd thing is how these illustrations all credit their sources in brackets, but many are credited to the author, who either has a stunning collection of original prints or is working some odd copyright flanker.

I also wonder why, being a picture book, it wasn't published in larger format. Still, worth a look. It actually lives up to the title. I was less enlightened by it than the companion Venice volume, showing that only by living in a city can one truly know it, but for non-residents it will presumably be as eye-opening as the Venice one was for me. These guides push this point too, by featuring the by-line Local guides by local people.

The presentation and page layouts are modern, but stylish and easy to read - not always the case when designers try to be different. I learned stuff, and had things I already knew freshened and spiced up.

So there's a page about Postman's Park dealt with over on the left here and the cover even features The Tooting Granada, my local landmark. And there's cab shelters and Dennis Severs' House.

I imagine that you'll be enlightened too. Jenny Linford The London Cookbook If you're looking for a stylish, attractive and comprehensive introduction to the food and foodie places of London then this book's for you. The content's pretty evenly divided between recipes and articles. The articles deal in a brisk and upbeat way with the cuisines of seemingly every type and country to be found in London. There are lots of interviews with shop and stall owners and the recipes mostly come courtesy of real people.

A lot of these people seem to be related to the author, and the one's that aren't are often unknown and unintroduced and so are presumably her mates. The North London bias is a little too noticeable too. But the recipes are tempting, and often temptingly easy-looking, and to pick the book up and flip through it's tasteful photos and mouth-watering content is to want to take it home. I for one learnt something about the history of London's milk supply and that I need to get myself out to Kew to find the teashop that makes Maids of Honour tarts.

So in a spirit of transparency I have to admit that Jamie is a pal, ex-colleague and an all-round good chap. But opening his book on the tube home from his book launch I was reminded of the Gore Vidal quote 'Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little', so it balances out.

Because this is just such a damn attractive and well-designed book. The entries are arranged along tube lines, a smart choice as this is how most Londoners mentally map their city, and each one is devoted to a quirky site or detail. He includes some of, but mostly goes beyond, the usual suspects of such 'Secret London'-type volumes, and even when he writes about the more well-known unknowns he often has a new and sly slant.

You'd have to be a smugly clued-up and very miserable London lover not be enlightened and entertained by this book. If you've ever thought that you might like to have lived at this time, with Hawksmoor's churches and Adam's Adelphi going up, Hogarth painting, coffee shops full of wags and wastrels After you've read about the almost total lawlessness of the streets, the corruption in government and the Fleet ditch, and the real danger of bits of buildings, badly-built after the fire, falling on your bonce you won't want your time-machine to linger more than a day or so I think.

And as to the tricks that the ladies taught their lap-dogs A book both enjoyable and educational. It concerns itself less with where and more with how and why to walk.

Where to walk comes into it too, as the author and a friend do an East to West trek, from sunrise to sunset, similar to the sort of walk undertaken by Mr Sinclair below. There are chapters dealing with types of walking and techniques of walking - how to navigate and what to look for - open spaces, crossing the road and the river, dealing with the rush hour, the weather and the kerb.

And it's run through with bits of psychogeography, talk of buried routes, and humour, not least in the crappy but funny drawings. This all comes together in the chapter dealing with the City's lines of power which connect the psychically strong areas. The book advises on how to tap into these forces - take a packet of Wrigley Spearmint gum and drop the sticks, as they fall to the ground the arrows on the wrappers should magically align you. The book was occasioned by the author's first visit to London after many years of reading about the place and developing a literature-created picture.

The book is about how this picture stands up to the reality of modern London. Pretty well, it turns out, as Ms Q goes on pilgrimages visiting places related to Dickens, Sherlock Homes and the Forsytes, amongst others.

It's not a long book, nor is it a detailed or factually fascinating read. It's a rambling and a pondering sorta book, rather than a book of sharp-eyed walks. But it did a fine job of freshening up my view of my town, through the perceptions of someone overlaying fiction with experience - the opposite to the way my London was built.

And it's always good to see your manor through a stranger's eyes. The extracts, taken from novels and non-fiction, are rarely more than a couple of pages long and are collected into loosely-themed chapters devoted to the Thames, transport, tourism, toffs and the like. Obviously such an endeavour succeeds or fails on the choice of extracts and here we have a smartly chosen and compulsive selection, I must admit.

To dip in is to be sucked in. Eclectic indeed and a frequent inspiration for further reading, which is as it should be. London This is a clothbound facsimile edition but it's not easy to find its date of publication. The back cover says 'Originally published in the late 50s' and the back of the title page says 'pres'. But from the lack of Blitz destruction detailed in the text and, more precisely, the fact that the book tells us that Waterloo Bridge is being rebuilt and that a temporary bridge has been erected alongside, one can narrow the writing, if not the publication, of the book to just before, and into the early years of, World War II.

So the book still effortlessly conjures London between the wars, with its Lyons Tea Houses, cart traffic, policemen directing traffic, and the Imperial War Museum still only dedicated to the one war. It's more of a joy to read if you know enough about London to know what's changed. I didn't know, for instance, that the Museum of London was once housed in Lancaster House on the Mall.

From the description it seems that the exhibits and layout were not that different from that of the current one on the edge of the Barbican. The style of the writing, too, is of it's time, so that with regard to the road junction at the Bank we are warned that 'Even with the aid of Belisha Beacons it requires dexterity of no common order to get across the roadways in safety'.

Pedestrians 'especially strangers' are advised to use the subway. Also 'Here may be seen, better than anywhere else, that stirring spectacle of the policeman with uplifted arm which nearly always moves the wonder and admiration of visitors from abroad'. There is also much that is unchanged so that using this as a guide today is not as mad an idea as you might think. Peter Ackroyd Hawksmoor The book is named after the 18 th century architect, who in this book is called Nicholas Dyer.

The name Hawksmoor is given to a detective investigating present-day murders which echo the sacrifices made by Dyer to give his churches a mystic charge. The superstitious beliefs of the architect are contrasted with the faith in science of his old master Christopher Wren, just as the detective's instincts and oddness are contrasted with his deputy's faith in computers.

The book switches between modern murder and period detail with the blood-soaked earth, names and events reverberating between the two periods as strange forces affect the church building and the child-murder investigations. You may become a little overwhelmed by the constant resonance, where everything seems to have so many meanings that if you only spot two you think you're missing something. But better this than a woefully non-resonant, flat book. A fine and dark read, full of squalor, viscera, vagrants, and death, and a tempting attempt at explaining the spirits of places.

As well as Life and Death in Spitalfields for some fascinating background. Clare Clark The Nature of Monsters Eliza, a girl in trouble, is packed off to an apothecary in London, but his plans for the bun in her oven turn out to be different from hers. He's working on the theory that if a woman is frightened during pregnancy this trauma may affect the unborn child physically. A hare lip resulting from a terrifying encounter with a rabbit, for example. Clare Clark moves back a century from the action of The Great Stink , but she still revels in the smelly and sticky - this is every bit as sensual an experience as before, with London there for us to smell and taste in all its teeming wenishness.

Sometimes things seem a little too teeming, but scenes like the trip to the busy riverside, and a first sighting for Eliza of the old London Bridge, will swiftly drag you back to admiration. But are we ready for a novel of 18th century London where everyone washes yet? Tully Truegood is kept a hidden drudge at home by her drunken bastard of a father, but is later rescued by her kindly new stepmother - which is unusual - who then turns out to be a cunning and resourceful madam, intent on running London's highest of high-class brothels, called The Fairy House.

An engaging mixture of the fresh and the expected, then, with a spicy touch of magic too, in the shape of Tully's ability to see dead people, make them visible to others, and to fly. There's lots of damp and detailed sexual activity too - the Sarah Waters comparisons are mostly due to the sprinkling of girl-on-girl action - to remind you that you're not reading an actual 18th century novel.

Most of the action is indoors, this being a book more concerned with people than set pieces, but the trips out also have a fine flavour of the time and the places. As the end is neared the magic is used for some convenient, but imaginative, plot solutions with a panache that makes one forgive and admire. The alternating pair of central characters include a middlingly successful businessman of unusually unspectacular personality, but the other is a more-predictable lovely, but recently set-adrift, ex-prostitute.

Their expected intersection of lives happens haltingly, and very soon I began to feel equally cool about both of them. Gently murky motives and mucky streets abound, in Deptford, around the shipyards, and in Soho and Greenwich.

Some Black Servants Matter plotting adds mere spice midway and then there's some deceptive contentment. The mermaid appears about three-quarters through, but does not bring happiness. The story unfolds in a way suggestive of allegory and deeper meaning, but I could discern neither. Not unenjoyable as a read, just opaque in its point. Antonia Hodgson The Devil in the Marshalsea The Marshalsea debtor's prison of the 18th century was a different place from the later one, which features in Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit, the author is at pains to point out, so I pass this scene-setting information on.

Being set in 18th century London means that Tom Hawkins, the fallen and fallen-on-hard-times central character, who is a lapsed vicar's son, frequents the worst coffee shop in prostitute-infested Covent Garden, whose madam-like owner is the one he turns to when he gets attacked and robbed in the St Giles rookery, having been lead there by a disreputable link boy. So far so usual. But when Tom is incarcerated the plotting becomes a good deal sharper and the standard of observation and character-creation more noticeably superior.

The picture the book paints of the vileness of the prison and the corruption, in both senses, is eye- and nose- opening in its rankness and brutality. The plot pelts along with red herrings, witty banter, romance, deception and deaths aplenty. As the final plot-twists die down - it's a bit of an exaggeration to say that all the goodies turn out to be baddies, and vice-versa, but only a bit - the ending is humane, harsh and Hollywood in equal measures.

Ross King Domino A book about the deceptiveness of appearances, this is the story of George Cautley, a young artist freshly arrived in a well-painted London of the s. His experiences are echoed by those of a Tristano, a castrato singer lured to London fifty years earlier, and this latter story is told to our hero by Lady Beauclair, whose appearance may, or may not, be the most deceptive of all.

Occasionally you'll yearn for something to actually be what it seems, but this is a truly gripping tale which conjures up a fragrant and convincing period London, whether George goes to the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens or pursues villains through the streets of Soho. The icing on an already spicy and fruity cake is the similarly fine job done of Tristano's adventures in Venice.

Michelle Lovric The Remedy The action here switches between Venice, where a daughter of the aristocratic Venier family is confined to a convent, very much against her will, and London, where later Valentine Greatrakes' quack-remedy and 'importing' business is struck a blow as his partner is killed in Venice.

There will be more murders, lies, romance, sex and travel before the plot plays itself out. There's also much vivid description of the streets and low lives of the Thames Bankside and dank Venetian canalsides - The Remedy gives good 18th century Venice and London, with descriptions you can almost taste, and not just of the food. The hint of decadence in the writing and nastiness in the plotting I find much to my taste too.

And if you want to know how you can use any peacock dung, faeculae of cuckow and ox galls you might have about the place in remedies, and other useful potions, this book will tell you, with handy recipes at the start of each chapter. Maria McCann Ace, King, Knave Another tale of prostitution and deceit, where the women spend their lives being relentlessly wronged and the men are all users and abusers of varying degrees of charm.

The lives of a prostitute and an innocent wife run parallel and share a common bastard. Faber territory, done well and with the requisite levels of squalor and stink. Grave-robbing and human trafficking add extra flavour, as does the wife's unfortunate weakness of bladder and its subsequent affect on the couple's lovemaking.

The action centres around Covent Garden featuring Harris's list, of course and more surprisingly Marylebone. Disparate lives are satisfyingly drawn together by events, leading to a suitably dramatic conclusion. One can't help but sometimes yearn for a novel set in this period that doesn't foreground filth and maybe features the lives of bakers, or even candle-stick makers, who keep their premises scrupulously clean, But what the hell - let's wallow! Elizabeth Redfern The music of the spheres It's the summer of and there's a lot of history happening.

The republicans in France have murdered most of the toffs, but the few left are organising themselves for a fight back, with Britain's help, ostensibly. Jonathan Absey works at the Home Office, analysing the correspondence of suspected French spies.

He is still an emotional wreck following the murder of his daughter, and so when more women of the street with red hair - like his daughter - start turning up murdered he becomes involved in a spy network of his own more murky, and indeed sordid, than he could ever have imagined. And where do his superior's allegiances lie? And whose side is the dark doctor on? Mix this all up with Jonathan's elder gay broth er sharing the murky band of spies' obsession with astronomy, and the need to find a missing star called Selene, and you've got all the double-dealing, detail and plot twists you could hope for.

London is just one of the many authentically evoked elements in this story - it's got a convincing smell to it, and contains much grimy period low-life. I found the murders a little disturbing in their repeated lingering brutality, but that was all I can complain of. Hallie Rubenhold Mistress of my Fate The first in a series detailing The Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot, here our heroine starts out on her life's voyage as an orphan in the country house of Lord Stavourley.

She is kept comfortable but made to feel her lower status. Matters amorous, and her learning the shocking facts of her true parentage, see her fleeing to London and falling in with a monde most demi. The setup is not unusual but the author fashions a compulsive narrative and provides surprises and opportunities for compassion aplenty.

Hallie Rubenhold is an historian whose patch is described as '18th century social history' but as her works include The Covent Garden Ladies and Lady Worsley's Whim: So we can say that she knows whereof she writes when she immerses us into the world of Georgian rakes and into houses of most ill repute. The details are fragrant and convincing, and the settings, around Piccadilly, St James's and Mayfair are painted well too.

The historical romance as a genre is in decline, but the vast majority of books of literary fiction, and in other genres, now have historical settings. But this is not an historical romance anyway, despite much tearful dampness and emotional heaving and a classically swoonsome hero, having more in common with novels of the period like Pamela and Vanity Fair. There are some fetching gothic touches too. As this volume ends Henrietta Lightfoot still has much to learn, and confess.

And I understand that her adventures later take her to Paris and Venice. Taylor Wormwood The author's previous, and first, novel was called Shadowmancer and benefited from the then-cresting Philip Pullman wave. It was set on the North Yorkshire coast in the 18th century and featured a good deal of magic and weather. This new one is set in the London of the same century and features a good deal of filth, muck and squalor.

Really, almost everyone in the book is lice-ridden and crusty, and every street is awash with filth and excrement and dead animals. This is all, no doubt, authentic but it still turns the stomach and makes this a book to be read as far from meal-times as possible.

The story is of a scientist who comes into the possession of a magical book that has all the answers and which heralds the coming of madness and destruction. The book has something of the effect of the ring in THAT famous book upon those who possess it, and there is also a Gollum later on.

As the plot unfolds so more and more mysterious characters appear, take some action - usually violent - or wait on street corners with glowing eyes to be noticed and worried about.

No one is who they seem and no one is truly good, it seems. Taylor is sometimes presented as the Christian alternative to Pullman, and there are many fallen angels here some seeming almost good science is found wanting, and the major villain is a woman. So far so suggestive of a Christian message.

But the ambiguity not least in the behaviour of the angels and double-dealing and second-guessing means nothing is clear, and the book seems to be about magic as much as belief. All of which doesn't really detract from a gripping and gruesome tale full of the detail and reek of the London of the time. It's set away from the usual run of locations, and features a bookshop that perches on, and lives under, the old London Bridge within an old church.

A first-rate imagination stirrer, and no mistake. St George's Church is pictured on the cover, suggesting some link with Hawksmoor above, but it features just as the sound of distant bells. Simon Blumenfeld Jew boy A somewhat confrontational title which, according to Ken Worpole in his comprehensive introduction here, still ruffles sensitive feathers. But the book itself is a somewhat less gritty read than the other between-the-wars novels published by London Books Classics by the likes of Robert Westerby and Gerald Kersh, reviewed below.

His anguish at achieving neither of these goals is expressed against a background of 30s political protest and the details of Jewish life and observance. You'll maybe be reminded more of Rosamund Lehmann and Elizabeth Taylor in the emotional and playful tone, rather than the lowlife criminal atmosphere we expect from LBC.

Alec and his mates and their demands and girlfriends make for more of a slice-of-life narrative than the knife-fights and thieving we have come to expect from working-class types in the midth century. The politics and plotting can seem a little dated and naive ly hopeful , but this is still engaging and readable, with much evocative period detailing and attitudes. Norman Collins London belongs to me First published in , this has a fair claim to being one of the novels of London life during WW2.

It takes the inhabitants of the flats on all floors of a big old house in Kennington from on into the war. It's a slice of real humanity at the time, taking in low life, family life, faded glamour, life ending, lives beginning and all the actions and emotions, noble and despicable, that get stirred up along the way.

Words like teeming, tapestry, Dickensian, and flipping long are all justified. Along the way there's incidental pleasures, like the appreciation of the kind of crap that was eaten before the Italian and Indian food fads of later decades.

You could say that it's soapy, but that would be unfair - this is what soaps want to be when they grow up. It's also very funny, in a way that keeps you grinning all through, if not laughing out loud.

It's not cool or cold enough to be a cult novel, and not idiosyncratic or deep enough to be a real classic.

But it is nonetheless a soundly enjoyable and moving read. An odd thing I noticed is that, although there is next to no travel on the Underground in this novel, the majority of its locations, and even places just mentioned in passing, are on the Northern Line. Maureen Duffy Wounds The first of the novels in Duffy's London trilogy takes us into the minds of various disparate characters whose connections become apparent as the pages progress. This streaming style makes for some occasional confusion, as a section starts and you take time to realise who it deals with, but not so much as to spoil the flow.

Early on there's an odd recurrence of horse memories, or metaphors, and a common-ground pub emerges. A lesbian gardener of mature years starts us off, and we pass through various colours of skin and ages and classes, with wartime memories still strong and damaged lives a common thread. We return regularly to a pair of undamaged lovers in bed, talking loving tosh and exchanging fluids, in a way that seems to be ironic counterpoint to grim real life, but I suspect is not so simply intended.

The London and period flavour is strong, but more in spirit than topographical description - mention of a common and some pub names is about as specific as the scene-setting gets. The fun-fair later on may well be Battersea, so the common might be Clapham. One of the characters, a mayor, is pondering the impending amalgamation of some London boroughs, which happened in - some precise dating then.

A novel very much of its time, in style and content, but full of flavour and worth the effort. Down is the direction dealt with here, with the central character, Meepers, obsessed with the bones beneath our feet and the stories they tell. And the stories they tell, mixing history and myth, are interspersed with his story in a time-jumbling way which was once seen as scarily modern, as Paul Bailey observes in his introduction, but which we are now more used to.

Meepers's major obsession is whether the post-Roman period of London's history is really as dark as it's painted. This isn't as gothic as an Ackroyd, or as dense as a Sinclair, but it's pleasingly dark in places, with the past painted in all it's grubby grimness, but with a balancing element of humanity and warmth you'd expect from a book written by a woman, if you'll pardon my stereotyping.

One of the key London novels. Londoners The last one. Events in the present day relate back to our heroes' first case back in a blitz-ravaged West End.

Serene temples, pagodas, and a genocide museum