To The End Of The World: Travels With Oscar Wilde
Little Brown, £20
If Rupert Everett had not spent the past 40 years as a celebrated actor, he might have found even greater acclaim as a writer.
Every page of this third volume of his memoirs sparkles, and he writes with engaging wit and self-deprecation.
However, here he finds his career in the doldrums. The giddy Hollywood heights of My Best Friend’s Wedding and Shrek are firmly in the past. There is still a seasoning of name-dropping, from Joan Collins to Gregory Peck, but Everett is a man on a mission to write, direct and star in The Happy Prince, a film about the final years of exile and disgrace of Oscar Wilde.
As Everett ricochets from Paris to Naples, Berlin to Venice in search of funding and locations, he captures the snakes-and-ladders world of international film finance. It takes a saintly forbearance to survive all the setbacks in the film’s making, along with the stalwart support of loyal friends from Colin Firth to Emily Watson.
Although The Happy Prince was not the commercial success that Everett might have hoped, the fact that he made it at all is a testimony to perseverance and talent. You hope there are more adventures to come and that Everett chronicles them with all the humour and panache displayed here.
BY ALLAN HUNTER
A Song For The Dark Times
The 23rd John Rebus novel starts with the retired detective ready for the scrapheap – or at least moving into a ground-floor flat. But his poor health can’t prevent him haring off to help his daughter when she’s suspected of doing away with her missing husband.
Rebus rapidly gets up the noses of the investigating cops, partly because he wants to atone for years of negligent parenting. Might this mystery be connected to a murder Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox are investigating? The answer unfolds with Rankin’s customary mastery.
BY JAKE KERRIDGE
In this candid, gossipy autobiography, Elton John describes a troubled childhood followed by years slogging away on the pub circuit until his 1970 breakthrough with Your Song.
Global stardom brought destructive drug-fuelled antics and walk-on parts for the biggest stars of the 1970s and 80s, from John Lennon and Keith Richards to Richard Gere, while he spars with Rod Stewart and falls out with Tina Turner. However, he also developed cocaine and alcohol addictions, checking into rehab in 1990. Me is warts and all, self-deprecating and frank. A perfectly pitched memoir from one of the greats of popular culture.
BY CHARLOTTE HEATHCOTE
In Waterstones’ Thriller Of The Month, Christine, mother of 10-year-old Lauren, disappeared when Lauren was a baby. But one night, as dad Niall and Lauren drive home, a ghostly woman stumbles into the road.
Niall takes her back to their house but, in the morning, the woman has vanished.
However, a friend of Christine’s tells Lauren that her mum is “visiting to say there’s trouble afoot”. Is she a figment of Lauren’s imagination or has Christine returned to protect her?
Francine Toon captures Lauren’s longing for her mum in an atmospheric tale of memory and loss.
BY EMMA LEE-POTTER
In Brighton in 1968, Talbot Kidd is producing a film. But he thinks his business partner is trying to cheat him, and he has his own secrets to hide. Meanwhile, his star, Anny Viklund, is addicted to prescription drugs, and the wife of the movie’s philandering director is alcoholic Elfrida Wing. As this trio tackle their problems, History with a capital H affects the lives of the characters.
Despite Boyd’s smooth, unshowy prose and expert pacing, it’s hard not to feel that this is the latest in a run of upmarket soap operas, where he once used to write masterpieces.
BY JAKE KERRIDGE