In brief: The Colour of Time; The Rumour; Left Bank – reviews

History revisisted, this time in colour, Lesley Kara stirs paranoia in Essex and Agnès Poirier brilliantly recreates Paris in the 40s

The Colour of Time
Dan Jones & Marina Amaral

Head of Zeus, £25

This fascinating collaboration between the historian Dan Jones and the Brazilian colourist Marina Amaral manages to be both revelatory and familiar. Amaral’s skills bring 19th- and early 20th-century photographic images to wholly unexpected and vivid life. We see Lewis Powell, the Lincoln assassination conspirator, posing as if modelling for a glossy magazine, and a 1922 version of Adolf Hitler looking like Wodehouse’s Roderick Spode in shorts and white socks. Jones, meanwhile, offers thoughtful and perceptive commentary, contextualising the events and people depicted with concise skill, meaning that this fine book is accessible, beautiful and hugely readable.

The Rumour
Lesley Kara

Bantam, £12.99

In a small coastal Essex town, when it’s whispered that a once notorious child murderer has moved there under an assumed identity, a febrile atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion develops. This is especially true for the recently returned protagonist, single mother Joanna, as someone may be planning revenge on her. Lesley Kara’s gripping debut offers a series of red herrings and twists, some more plausible than others, but the evocation of the way in which idle chatter can spiral into something potentially deadly is beautifully done and fans of page-turning suspense novels should lap it up.

Left Bank
Agnès Poirier

Bloomsbury, £9.99

The period between 1940 and 1950 in Paris might have initially been steeped in fear and violence, but it also gave rise to one of the greatest creative movements that the modern world has known. Agnès Poirier brilliantly recreates the ambience of a time when Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir rubbed shoulders with Beckett, James Baldwin and Giacometti and where social, sexual and political conventions were overturned. Whether this lasted much beyond 1950 can be debated, but Poirier makes the depiction of the era thrillingly vivid.

To order The Colour of Time for £22, The Rumour for £11.43 or Left Bank for £8.79 go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99


Alexander Larman

The GuardianTramp

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