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MARK McCRUM was born in Cambridge, where his father was an academic. He grew up and went to school in Kent and Berkshire and after a nine month 'gap year' teaching at a multiracial school in Botswana returned to Cambridge to study English at the University. He was approached by Bruce Parry, presenter of Tribe, a new series about remote indigenous people, to work with him on a book to accompany the programmes (see separate page). Meanwhile, he had had the idea of giving his contemporary etiquette idea a global dimension and Going Dutch In Beijing, the International Guide to Doing the Right Thing was conceived. This proved much more appealing to publishers and he soon found himself signing yet another contract. From sitting around with imaginary characters who were going nowhere, Mark now found himself working on three books simultaneously, with barely a minute to call his own.
When a fellow author is murdered during a literary festival, crime writer Francis Meadowes determines to discover who killed him. At the start of one of the English summer's highlights, the annual literary festival in the pretty little country town of Mold-on-Wold, famous critic Bryce Peabody is found dead in his bed at the White Hart Hotel. At first it seems as if fifty-something Bryce might have succumbed to a heart attack, but the forensics team soon uncover evidence of something more sinister. Bryce had made many enemies in the past, with his scandalous private life and scathing reviews. Could it be that one of the many writers he insulted in print has taken a bitter revenge? Or perhaps there's a more personal reason? Unable to help himself, crime writer Francis Meadowes, who is also staying at the White Hart, is drawn into a role he knows only from his own fiction, that of amateur detective.
In April 2011, four soldiers - each a veteran of recent conflicts, who suffered devastating injuries in the line of duty - set out on an extraordinary challenge: a two-hundred mile trek, unsupported, to the North Pole. Joined by patron Prince Harry, the charity founders, a polar guide and a film crew, the team achieved their goal despite facing hurdles an able-bodied athlete would baulk at, and having seen their resilience tested to the limit. They returned with a story that proves strength of mind can be every bit as powerful as strength of body, and as an inspiration to us all.
What to do and what not to do when traveling almost anywhere-an entertainment for the armchair or the intrepid travelerWhy shouldn't you offer to pay for your share of the meal in China? Or use the thumbs-up sign to mean "e;that's excellent"e; in Sardinia?Because, of course, despite the ease with which we can now communicate with and visit one another, they still do things differently over there. In China your host will "e;lose face"e; if you don't let him pick up the tab. In Sardinia a raised thumb means, literally, "e;Sit on this!"e;Going Dutch in Beijing offers a lighthearted and informative guide to everything from first meeting to last rites. Subjects covered include the opening contact between strangers; greetings, gestures, handshakes, and getting names right; as well as more complex traditions and how to behave if you decide to stick around for good.Whether you are heading abroad or staying at home, Going Dutch in Beijing is a delightful and indispensable handbook designed to ensure that your sense of the world is informed and your travel is happy.
Once in a while a book is produced that captures the energy and spirit of the world of rock. Somebody Someday was published to massive popular and critical acclaim in September 2001. It shot straight to No 1 in the bestseller lists and proceeded to spend 14 weeks in the top 3. The insight, honesty and humour of the book was unprecedented. The photographic quality and design innovation; no more than this pop icon deserved. In short it was a triumph. For the paperback edition Robert P. Williams and Mark McCrum have delved even further into the phenomenon that is Robbie - covering his million selling 2001 album and looking at changes in his professional, family, social and love lives. Dynamically repackaged in a tempting trade paperback and including new photographs, this is a fitting follow up 2001's most successful hardback - Somebody Someday.