Born in Newport, Monmouthshire, 1931, Leslie Thomas is the son of a sailor who was lost of sea in 1943. His boyhood in an orphanage is evoked in This Time Next Week published in 1964. At sixteen, he became a reporter, before going on to do his national service. He won worldwide acclaim with his bestselling novel The Virgin Soldiers, which has achieved international sales of over two million copies. Leslie Thomas died in May 2014.
When you get an old trooper like Leslie Thomas you know you are in good hands. Essentially this is the story of people coping with, taking advantage of and loving war. There is a spirit of live now/ pay later about this novel which is steeped in nostalgia and spotted with true-blooded Brits, oh, and a French woman. Itâ€™s a lovely, light period read.Comparison: Alan Titchmarsh, Keith Waterhouse, David Lodge.Similar this month: Billy Hopkins.
From the prison cell where Chloe Smith, 43, is awaiting trial for the merciful murder of the only man who ever loved her with honesty, she recalls the men in her life who lied to her. This novel is the story of one woman's quest to get what every woman wants - a man who tells the truth.
In the spring of 1940, the spectre of war turned into grim reality. And on the English home front, men, women and children found themselves swept into a maelstrom of fear and uncertainty while events abroad led inexorably from the debacles of Norway and Dunkirk to the horror and glory of the Battle of Britain. For the Lovatt family - James, seconded on a hush-hush assignment to work with Churchill, and his brother Harry, a naval officer - for Bess Spofford, Joanne Schorner, Graham Smit and all the inhabitants of the history villages of the New Forest, it was the beginning of the most bizarre, funny and tragic episode of their lives.
The new tale of love and life, rich with humour and pathos, from our best loved storyteller. From the prison cell where Chloe Smith, 43, is awaiting trial for the merciful murder of the only man who ever loved her with honesty, she recalls the men in her life who lied to her. She remembers her adored father, who drank too much; the loss of her virginity at Stonehenge to a schoolboy, her marriage to petty crook Zane Tomkins, the Isle of Wight ferryman who said he was a lonely deep sea sailor, the young priest who said he loved her but left to establish a church for men, or the lighthouse keeper who shouted in his sleep-all these men, and many others, have let Chloe down. Chloe`s Song is the story of one woman`s quest to get what every woman wants-a man who tells the truth.
Mid-winter, 1943. Britain is gripped by intense cold and in the darkest days of the war. It is six months before D-Day and the battle to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe. RAF officer Martin Paget is returning home for Christmas He has been on covert operations in France and knows he has to return there. While in England, he rediscovers a passion that he thought was long over. In a freezing hut on Salisbury Plain, Sergeant Harris's mind is occupied by questions of just how his young and ebullient wife is coping with their separation. His troops are training for landing on the shores of Normandy. US officer Harry Miller arrives in Somerset where his American division has set up its headquarters. His affair with an Englishwoman is both bittersweet and potentially dangerous. Enjoying fishing off the coast of occupied Jersey is German cook sergeant Fred Weber. He believes he has found a sort of peace in the midst of the terrible conflict. But his calm is soon to be shattered as his war takes on a violent twist... Each man is heading inexorably towards the beaches of France where the great battle will begin...
In a sunlit, secret valley in the green mountains of central Italy, two people meet away from the horrors and clamour of battle. David Hopkins, a young fisherman from west Wales and Kate Medhurst, from a genteel town in the Thames Valley, embark upon an idyllic love affair away from the conflict that surrounds them. However, they cannot escape the war forever, and when they are targeted by a single enemy aeroplane their dreams are destroyed. Weeks later, Hopkins wakes up in a Russian hospital in Vienna where he's slowly recovering from serious wounds - with no recollection of the past. Eventually, transferred to an American hospital and then repatriated to Britain, Hopkins reluctantly returns to Wales. And there, alone and haunted by the months he cannot remember, Hopkins embarks upon a journey of rediscovery...
From Barnardo boy to original virgin soldier; from apprentice journalist in London's Fleet Street to famous novelist... At times funny, at times sad, but always honest and utterly compulsive, Leslie Thomas's story is straight out of fiction. As an orphan, he picked his way through the rubble of post-war Britain and was sent on national service to the Far East. Later he became a Fleet Street reporter, with hilarious experiences to relate, and then became the bestselling author of The Virgin Soldiers - the novel that, although scandalous in its day, is now recognised as a classic of its kind. He is also the creator of Dangerous Davies: The Last Detective, which has been adapted into a popular television series. In 2005, Leslie Thomas was awarded an OBE for services to literature. With a new introduction for this edition, this is an amazing story, and Leslie Thomas's magic touch brings it crackling to life with warmth, wit and humour.
Summer 1940. The evacuation of Dunkirk proves that the British can rise to a challenge, even against seemingly insurmountable odds. But now the soldiers walk the streets of Dover, even wandering through Woolworths store, and take weary turns on the town's skating rink. Life, despite the threat of invasion and the reality of bombing, must go on and people must take comfort where they find it. Toby Hendry, a fighter pilot, is awaiting orders when he meets Giselle, a young Frenchwoman who took the chance to flee occupied France with the English troops. Their love affair feels like a summer idyll, but can it withstand the forces of war? Meanwhile, reserve naval commander Paul Instow has been called up to fight in a war for which he feels too old. Distracting him from his worries is Molly, a young Dover prostitute. Their relationship is tender and happy, but is this a love born from desperation or could it be something more permanent? And then there are Harold, Spots and Boot, three boys desperate to fight the German invaders, armed only with catapults and a stolen Bren gun... In Dover Beach Thomas chronicles the lives and loves of ordinary people in besiged Britain during these tense, but curiously elated days.
Bursting with life and bawdy humour, National Serviceman Brigg is now a Regular Army sergeant, defending the Empire in the beds and bars of Hong Kong. Peace-time diversions include: sensual fireworks with a pair of delicious Chinese twins and a tender, erotic affair with the lonely wife of an American serviceman.
The worst has happened. On the eve of their return to Blighty, Brigg and his fellow National Servicemen find themselves sentenced to another six months in Panglin Barracks... Many of the surviving characters from The Virgin Soldiers live again in these pages: dogged Tasker, the odious Sergeant Wellbeloved, the vulnerable Colonel Bromley Pickering and the comically touching Juicy Lucy. But we encounter new characters too: the fanatical and demented Lieutenant Grainger; the endearing Welshman, Morris Morris - strong as a horse but bafflingly buxom; US Private Clay - mysteriously lost in transit by the American Army; and last, but not least, Bernice Harrison, the sporting nurse who threatens to replace the wayward Lucy in Brigg's affections...
'It rained a lot and steamed when the sun shone. It was always hot. But it was safe...' One way or another the Communist guerrilla war in Malaya kept a whole British army occupied from 1948 until 1952. They were the virgin soldiers. Idle, homesick, afraid, bored, oversexed and unsatisfied. A young virgin like Brigg had to grab his fun while and where he could - in the Liberty Club, in Juicy Lucy's flat or up in Phillipa's room - in one frantic attempt at living before he died or got demobbed...
Philadelphia architect Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974) was one of the most influential American architects of the twentieth century. His work, widely recognised as a link between modern and classical traditions, is distinguished by its simple yet monumental design. In this book, Thomas Leslie shows that Kahn was also an extraordinarily gifted technologist and that his careful presentation of engineering principles set the stage for the high-tech movement in Europe and America. The examination of four major buildings the Yale University Art Gallery, the Richards Medical Research Laboratories, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and the Kimbell Art Museum and several smaller projects by Kahn reveals this hidden theme: an expressive integration of construction, structure, and services into buildings that dramatically highlight the processes involved in their making and function. Previously unpublished drawings, construction photographs, and sketches complement new diagrams that illustrate the profound technical poetry within Kahns buildings. Because of its new approach to Kahns work, this book will be a vital resource for architects and designers, both as a comprehensive analysis of these buildings and as a new interpretation of their constructed meaning. Students and educators will also benefit from the books focus on the role of basic building science in the design and construction of four major monuments of late twentieth- century architecture.
The war, they said, would be over by Christmas. That was in 1939, and it is now January 1944. An exhausted Britain faces another year of conflict. Meanwhile, small coastal villages in Devon are facing an invasion from an army just as foreign as that of the Germans. The Americans are smart, well-fed and well-equipped, and they have swept the bewildered citizens of South Devon from their homes in deadly earnest rehearsal for D-Day. As the beaches echo to the sound of bullets and the local church to the strains of Glenn Miller, Americans and English are thrown together with sometimes hilarious, sometimes painful and puzzling results.
A walk through Kensal Green Cemetery, a meat pie in the greasy spoon, a weekend away complete with flannel pyjamas - Dangerous Davies knows how to treat the woman he loves. Detective Constable Davies has two things on his mind: Jemma Duval, the beautiful, black, hymn-singing social worker, and 'Lofty' Brock, the harmless old eccentric who drowned in the canal. To prove that Lofty's death was no accident, our hero sets out to do some undercover detective work. He soon discovers that something sinister is going on. Something that requires intuition, dedication, brilliant deduction - and a timely blow with a blunt instrument.
As plain-clothes men go, Dangerous Davies looks like a non-starter. The small fry of petty larceny and minor disturbances in the backwaters of north-west London are his daily round. His philosophising Welsh drinking companion Mod, his outsized and unruly dog Kitty, his quarrels with his landlady Mrs Fulljames - none of these bodes well for the efficient solving of crimes and the outwitting of villainy. But Davies is encouraged by his beautiful friend Jemma, and every so often he stumbles upon something really big.
At the start of the war in 1939 James Bevan is a junior officer approaching middle-age, attached to a small anti-aircraft unit on the south coast. Abandoned by his wife, the soldiers he command are his family: Bairnsfather, whose sexual encounters with his girl friend Muriel take place in an air-raid shelter; Cartwright, trying to keep two women on his gunner's pay of a shilling a day; Hignet, cosily educating himself in the orderly room. It is a rude awakening when they are called upon for the real war. Hugely absorbing, rich and rewarding, Other Times brims with history and experience, love, sorrow and humour.
Davies has retired from the Met and set up an office in north London to carry on as a private eye. The murder of a woman who answers lonely hearts advertisements and the disappearance of a young girl student bring him as much work as he can handle.
TROPIC OF RUISLIP is a sage for life on a modern executive housing estate, seething with the fears, snobbereis, frustrations and lusts of well-heeled young couples trundling uneasily towards middle age.
Frank Inigo Savage simply wants to be alone and the top flat of Kensington Heights seems just the place. Until the other bizarre and eccentric inhabitants of the building start arriving on his doorstep. And the Savage gets a visit from a homeless waif he meets in the local launderette called Korky. Korky's intrusion on Savage's private world alters his whole existence. High above the London rooftops this strange and contradictory relationship blooms like an improbable flower and Savage begins to realise that the world can creep under even the most firmly closed doors. 'As ever in a Thomas novel, we constantly shift from tears to laughter and back again' Daily Express ' A moving and jolly book ... with hardly a dull moment and difficult not to be cheered by' Times
Leslie Thomas's odyssey is a vivid, personal account of the most fascinating islands at the furthest reaches of the globe: to islands as distant and diverse as Saint-Pierre et Miquelon off Newfoundland and Great Barrier Island off New Zealand, and to places more familiar by name, including Nantucket, Fair Isle, Tahiti, and Capri, this journey voyages to the world's smaller places. Descriptive, evocative and liberally sprinkled with anecdotes, the book weaves together a tapestry of impressions. Beachcombing for local legends, geography, colonial history and maritime lore, Thomas's search for the mystique of these islands gives the reader a unique insight into an extraordinary and beautiful world of islands. 'My World of Islands reads as a paean to a past age... a reminder that the entire world has not yet been reduced to Frejus or Marbella' Times Literary Supplement
Written with the characteristic wit and good humour, Leslie Thomas's novel tells the story of a grown man who runs away from home, and the adventures that befall him in his quest for a new lease of life. His latest love affair discovered (thanks to an observant fifteen-year-old daughter who points out the still-wet suds of expensive soap lingering in his ear), bestselling author Nicholas Boulting sets off amid a torrent of abuse to see what else life can offer. After his fantasy escape to Luxor turns into a nighmarish excursion to Malaga, Nicholas returns hastily to London. He moves into a flat in Little Venice with Sol Solomon, a sex-mad writer of dubious reputation, and sits down to write his next novel, Owls of Desperation. Full of the qualities we have come to expect from his novels, Running Away is Leslie Thomas's eminently readable and enjoyable story of one man's mid-life crisis.
Lost, baffled, and alone in Willesden's mean streets, Detective Constable Dangerous Davies is up against the cream of criminality. Newspaper theft (the work of organized crime?), household robbery (including cheese from the fridge), it's all grist to his mill. When Dangerous is beaten up, yet again, at a European Friendship dinner dance he reluctantly takes some sick leave. Recuperating in Bournemouth he is approached by a member of the local Widows' Luncheon Club. She wants him to find out the truth about her husband's disappearance. Dangerous declines. It's against the rules. Back in Willesden a further beating helps change his mind. So starts a double life of regular casework and moonlighting as Dangerous lurches into a mystery fit to confuse the great Holmes himself...
Fresh from Los Angeles, Mrs Pearl Collingwood and her daughter Rona arrive in the frenzied no-man's-land of Heathrow airport: from the nearby village of Bedmansworth, Edward Richardson jets in and out of it faster than his marriage can tolerate. Yet precisely where village and airport overlap, there exists a world bubbling with intrigues and assignations, with wit, pathos and excitement, that all readers of Leslie Thomas will recognize as his alone.
'A delightfully rauchy story... a lovely blend of humour, sexual comedy and pathos' Daily Express 'A rollicking tale of a Welsh sailor with a girl in every port, but only one true love at home...Thomas has a rare gift for words...This is his best book and a celebration of his robust talents, which combine flesh with imagination. He always had a narrative verve, and this saga develops it into a turn of the wheel of life. Revolving Jones comes back at last to his eternal miss, and hopefully, Leslie Thomas will achieve a revolution in his reputation' The Times 'This exciting adventure story is also one man's pilgrimage, a lifetime's odyssey, a ritually layered tale of the quest for humour and love' Daily Mail 'He inhabits that bestseller author territory that includes the likes of Jeffrey Archer, Jack Higgins and Ken Follett, but he is a far better writer than any of them' Marcel Berlins, Sunday Times
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