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Lovable British comedian Gyles Brandreth's look at the pursuit of happiness and why it matters--refreshingly free of wishy-washy, feel-good mumbo-jumbo and full of straightforward, down-to-earth guidanceOn June 17, 2013, Gyles Brandreth delivered the Baggs Memorial Lecture at the University of Birmingham--an annual conference on the theme of happiness and how it can be achieved. His speech was met with thunderous applause and a widespread demand to know more about the secrets of being happy, so he set about writing this poignant book of truths, sprinkled with British wit and humor throughout.With extensive research backing him, Brandreth travels the world over and meets numerous luminary figures, asking the questions: What is happiness? Who gets to be happy? For the queen of Denmark, it is finding happiness in routine; for Sheikh Raschid al Maktoum, it is the certainty of being confident in yourself when others doubt you; for Rod Stewart, it is taking pleasure in the simple things.Through fascinating anecdotes by the likes of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Clare, Brandreth explains why you need to know the seven secrets of happiness and why you need them now.
The master of wit and irony Published here alongside their evocative original illustrations, these fairy tales, as Oscar Wilde himself explained, were written "partly for children, and partly for those who have kept the childlike faculties of wonder and joy."
One of Britain's premier royal biographers pens the first in a series of fiendishly clever and stylish historical murder mysteries. Lovers of historical mystery will relish this chilling Victorian tale based on real events and cloaked in authenticity. Best of all, it casts British literature's most fascinating and controversial figure as the lead sleuth. A young artist's model has been murdered, and legendary wit Oscar Wilde enlists his friends Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Sherard to help him investigate. But when they arrive at the scene of the crime they find no sign of the gruesome killing -- save one small spatter of blood, high on the wall. Set in London, Paris, Oxford, and Edinburgh at the height of Queen Victoria's reign, here is a gripping eyewitness account of Wilde's secret involvement in the curious case of Billy Wood, a young man whose brutal murder served as the inspiration for The Picture of Dorian Gray. Told by Wilde's contemporary -- poet Robert Sherard -- this novel provides a fascinating and evocative portrait of the great playwright and his own "consulting detective," Sherlock Holmes creator, Arthur Conan Doyle.
The second witty installment in an astonishingly authentic historical mystery series featuring detective Oscar Wilde and his partner in crime, Arthur Conan Doyle. It's 1892, and Wilde is the toast of London, riding high on the success of his play Lady Windemere's Fan. While celebrating with friends at a dinner party he conjures up a game called "murder" that poses the question: Who would you most like to kill? Wilde and friends -- including Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, and poet Robert Sherard (the novel's narrator) -- write the names of their "victims" on pieces of paper and choose them one by one. After leaving the party, Wilde scoffs at the suggestion that he may have instigated a very dangerous game indeed. . . . The very next day, the game takes an all-too- sinister turn when the first "victim" turns up dead. Soon Wilde and his band of amateur detectives must travel through the realms of politics, theatre, and even boxing to unearth whose misguided passions have the potential to become deadly poisons. . . not only for the perpetrator of the seemingly perfect crimes but also for the trio of detectives investigating them. Richly atmospheric and as entertaining as Wilde himself, this book is the second in a series destined to delight mystery readers and fans of historical fiction alike.
Playwright and raconteur Oscar Wilde embarks on another adventure as he sets sail for America in the 1880s on a roller coaster of a lecture tour. But the adventure doesn't truly begin until Oscar boards an ocean liner headed back across the Atlantic and joins a motley crew led by French impresario Edmond La Grange. As Oscar becomes entangled with the La Grange acting dynasty, he suspects that all is not as it seems. What begins with a curious death at sea soon escalates to a series of increasingly macabre tragedies once the troupe arrives in Paris to performHamlet. A strange air of indifference surrounds these seemingly random events, inciting Oscar to dig deeper, aided by his friends Robert Sherard and the divine Sarah Bernhardt. What he discovers is a horrifying secret -- one that may bring him closer to his own last chapter than anyone could have imagined. As intelligent as it is beguiling, this third installment in the richly historical mystery series is sure to captivate and entertain.
In this new installment in the engaging mystery series Booklist called "pitch-perfect" and "enthralling"--currently in development as a BBC television series--the incomparable playwright, novelist, raconteur, and now ex-convict Oscar Wilde faces his most fiendishly puzzling case yet.It is 1897, France. Oscar Wilde has fled the country after his release from Reading Gaol. Tonight he is sharing a drink and the story of his cruel imprisonment with a mysterious stranger. Oscar has endured a harsh regime: the treadmill, solitary confinement, censored letters, no writing materials. Yet even in the midst of such deprivation, his astonishing detective powers remain undiminished--and when first a brutal warder and then the prison chaplain are found murdered, who else should the Governor turn to for help other than Reading Gaol's most celebrated inmate?
Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders opens in 1890, at a glamorous party hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Albemarle. All of London's high society--including the Prince of Wales--are in attendance at what promises to be the event of the season. Yet Oscar Wilde is more interested in another party guest, Rex LaSalle, a young actor who claims to be a vampire. But the entertaining evening ends in tragedy when the duchess is found murdered--with two tiny puncture marks on her throat. Desperate to avoid scandal and panic, the Prince asks Oscar and his friend Arthur Conan Doyle to investigate the crime. What they discover threatens to destroy the very heart of the royal family. Told through diary entries, newspaper clippings, telegrams, and letters, Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders is a richly atmospheric mystery that is sure to captivate and entertain.
Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders opens in 1892, as an exhausted Arthur Conan Doyle retires to a spa in Germany with a suitcase full of fan mail. But his rest cure does not go as planned. The first person he encounters is Oscar Wilde, and the two friends make a series of macabre discoveries among the letters--a finger; a lock of hair; and, finally, an entire severed hand. The trail leads the intrepid duo to Rome, and to a case that involves miracles as well as murder. Pope Pius IX has just died--these are uncertain times in the Eternal City. To uncover the mystery and discover why the creator of Sherlock Holmes has been summoned in this way, Wilde and Conan Doyle must penetrate the innermost circle of the Catholic Church and expose the deadly secrets of the six men closest to the pope. In Gyles Brandreth's captivating and richly atmospheric novel, Wilde's powers as a detective are put to the test in his most compelling case yet.
This is a diary packed with famous names and extraordinary stories. It is also rich in incidental detail and wonderful observation, providing both a compelling record of five remarkable decades and a revealing, often hilarious and sometimes moving account of Gyles Brandreth's unusual life -- as a child living in London in the 'swinging' sixties, as a jumper-wearing TV presenter, as an MP and government whip, and as a royal biographer who has enjoyed unique access to the Queen and her family. Something Sensational to Read on the Train takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride from the era of Dixon of Dock Green to the age of The X Factor, from the end of the farthing to the arrival of the euro, from the Britain of Harold Macmillan and the Notting Hill race riots to the world of Barack Obama and Lewis Hamilton. With a cast list that runs from Richard Nixon and Richard Branson to Gordon Brown and David Cameron -- and includes princes, presidents and pop stars, as well as three archbishops and any number of actresses -- this is a book for anyone interested in contemporary history, politics and entertainment, royalty, gossip and life itself.
The aim of the book is entertainment - and surprise - but there will be a fair bit of erudition and incidental education along the way. (Why is it a troop of baboons, but a shrewdness of apes?). We discover the oldest words, the newest, the longest, the shortest, the most frequently used, the costliest (yes, words can come with a price attached), the funniest, the most fatal, the most unusual...from the words Shakespeare gave us to the latest in sexting, the BEST and the WORST, the most AMUSING and AMAZING words are here Full of puns, palindromes, pangrams, acrostics, malaprops, famous (and infamous) last words and everything in between, in Word Play, Gyles Brandreth leads us through an A-Z and a Z-A of the wonderful world of words. This is a dazzling words book that is the ultimate compendium of word wisdom, facts and fun.
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