Who doesn’t love a good book that excites the mind and the imagination? Join our live Goldster Book Club to discuss our Book of the Month, and put questions to well-known authors during our weekly Inside Stories and occasional Author to Author specials. Feel free to explore the archives in our Library, where you'll find videos of past events.
Browse Upcoming Events to discover what exciting authors will be joining us over the months ahead, review the Event Archive to find out what books and author discussions featured over the last year, or, if you would like to relax with a previous Inside Story, tune into one of our videos and podcasts in Media Archive
In this cliff-hanging Inside Story, Goldster brings you a double-header. On one side we will talk about a satirical novel Victor in Trouble. When case officer Victor Caro arrives in Rome for his retirement tour, he and his family anticipate a three-year joy ride filled with good food, even better wine, and all the cultural wonders the Eternal City has to offer. But when Russia’s intelligence services help install a new American president, Victor finds himself in a national security nightmare. And can Victor protect America from a president who shares his intelligence briefings with a Russian matryoshka doll? Victor realizes there will be no coasting to the retirement finish line. This tour is going to be trouble.
And then….give it a beat….and we have the other side. Victor in Trouble’s author is a former officer of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations. Alex Finley has worked in West Africa and Europe and received an award for her outstanding contributions to the counterterrorism mission. Since leaving her day job, Alex has appeared as an expert on a range of American media outlets, commenting widely in Russia and Ukraine. She also runs a Twitter handle that tracks the movements of Russian oligarch’s yachts. Victor in Trouble is the third in her fantastic series and join Alex in conversation with Humphrey on Goldster Inside Story, 12.00 Thursday August 11th 2022
Before becoming a full-time writer Gavin Collinson’s career lurched from campsite management to journalism and marketing within the movie industry. He later enjoyed stints working on Coronation Street and Emmerdale before working across a number of roles on Doctor Who for almost a decade.
Since leaving the TARDIS he has written for the stage, radio, computer games and Virtual Reality experiences. He scripted 2021’s The Lonely Assassins (starring Jodie Whittaker), hailed by Engadget as ‘the best Doctor Who game ever made’ and he’s the author of the dark thriller, The Hitchcock Murders.
Ged Pope is a proud dweller in Surburbia, and the author of a new book entitled All The Tiny Moments Blazing: A Literary Guide to Suburban London.
The London suburbs have, for more than 250 years, fired the creative literary imagination: whether it be Samuel Johnson hiding away in bucolic pre-industrial Streatham, Italo Svevo cheering on Charlton Athletic FC down at The Valley, or Angela Carter hymning the joyful ‘wrongness’ of living south-of-the-river in Brixton. From Richmond to Rainham, Cockfosters to Croydon, this sweeping literary tour of the 32 London Boroughs describes how writers, from the seventeenth century onwards, have responded to and fictionally reimagined London’s suburbs. It introduces us to the great suburban novels, such as Hanif Kureishi’s Bromley-set The Buddha of Suburbia, Lawrence Durrell’s Black Book and Zadie Smith’s NW. It also reveals the lesser-known short stories, diaries, poems, local guides, travelogues, memoirs and biographies, which together show how these communities have long been closely observed, keenly remembered and brilliantly imagined.
Join Lucinda Hawksley as she chats to fellow author and suburbia defender Ged Pope on 18 August at midday.
If you’ve ever wondered why you feel so much better after a yoga class, then Sasha Bates’s new book, Yoga Saved My Life, will enlighten you. This is Sasha’s take on how and why yoga can be so transformative, seen through the lens of psychotherapy.
Whilst working as both psychotherapist and yoga teacher, Sasha noticed how similar these two seemingly different approaches were. Both address the many complexities and pitfalls we all struggle with today – divisiveness, conflict, stress, depression, anger, addiction loneliness, self-loathing and more.
Sasha illuminates what it is that takes yoga way beyond physical exercise – and how yoga does what psychotherapy does: providing a containing, reflective space in which you can access your unconscious, develop self-awareness, learn self-regulation and find ways to relate to yourself better. This new relationship with yourself offers ways to work with the automatic habits you do without thinking, but which hold you back, practically and emotionally.
Join Sasha and Lucinda Hawksley for the Inside Story on 19 August.
The Mercenary River tells the story of the River Thames and London’s struggle to supply its citizens with water from the Middle Ages to the present day. Humphrey Hawksley is with author and journalist Nick Higham to discuss his page-turning narrative that uncovers a series of incredible stories about Britain’s most famous river:
How the most powerful steam engine in the world was first brought to London; how one Victorian London water company deliberately cut off 2,000 households, even though it knew they had no alternative source of supply; a financial scandal which brought two of the water companies close to collapse in the 1870s; and the Chelsea Waterworks which was the first in the world to filter the water it supplied its customers, the same technique still used to purify two-thirds of London’s drinking water.. The final question Humphrey will put to Nick – are today’s 21st century water companies any improvement on their Victorian predecessors? Mercenary River is a tale of remarkable technological, scientific and organisational breakthroughs. It is also a story of greed and complacency, high finance and low politics. Nick Higham is a Londoner, who spent thirty years with the BBC, fifteen as their arts and media correspondent and also hosting ‘Meet the Author’ on the BBC News Channel. So he may have some tips for Goldster’s Inside Story presenters. Join Nick and Humphrey 12.00 Friday September 2nd on a historical trip down the river on Goldster Inside Story.goldster.co.uk/book-ahead-events/inside-story-nick-higham/ 15 use-title
On the morning of 11 October 1921, Michael Collins, leader of the ‘Irish murder gang’, bounded through the door of 10 Downing Street and shook hands with the British Prime Minister. So began the first day of the most important political negotiations in modern Anglo-Irish history. Nearly two months later, in the early hours of 6 December 1921, the talks culminated in the signing of what in Ireland is known simply as ‘the Treaty’ – a document that had been designed to end one violent conflict, but which soon gave rise to another.
A year later, four months before the treaty was implemented Michael Collins was assassinated by extremist Irish republicans.
A century on, in The Treaty, award-winning journalist Gretchen Friemann has produced a gripping account of the tense and protracted negotiations between the Irish and British delegations, shining a fresh light on the complex politics and high-stakes bargaining that produced the agreement.
This stunning Goldster Inside Story will mark the centenary of the Michael Collins’ murder and, in their hour long conversation, Gretchen and Humphrey will explore a vivid arc of narrative history that resonates across the intervening century to the age of Brexit. Gretchen will also bring to life the key players including Lloyd George, Churchill and Chamberlain of the British team, and Collins, Griffith, Gavan Duffy and Erskine Childers of the Irish delegation.
Join Humphrey Hawksley and Gretchen Friemann at 12.00 August 25th to explore the tumult of Anglo-Irish history and how what unfolded then is still impacting all our lives today.
A Room with a View was published in 1908 and has become a well-deserved classic. This comic novel follows the adventures of Lucy Honeychurch, a young woman coming of age at the beginning of a new century, before anyone (including the author) knew that WW1 was looming. At the start of the book, Lucy and her older cousin, Charlotte Bartlett, have recently arrived in Florence. For the rest of the novel, the people they meet at their pensione in Florence, as well the two women’s shared experiences of Italy in general, start to have an impact on their wider lives and on that of their circle of friends and family back in Surrey.
E.M. Forster (1879-1970) was a rather shy member of the Bloomsbury Group. He was a keen observer of human nature and used his writing as a way to poke fun at hypocrisy and double standards – something he suffered from as a gay man in a homophobic society. He wrote six novels, leaving a seventh unfinished at his death. Five were published during his lifetime: Where Angels Fear to Tread, The Longest Journey, A Room with a View, Howard’s End and A Passage to India. His sixth book, Maurice, a gay love story, was published posthumously, in 1971.
Many of us will know A Room with a View from the Merchant-Ivory film, but if you’ve never read the book, or haven’t read it for a long time, you are in for a treat as you discover Forster’s gorgeous writing. Read it and come along to the Book of the Month on Friday 28 August to chat about the novel with Lucinda and the rest of the Book Club community.
Caroline Crampton is a writer and a podcaster. She writes non-fiction books about the world and how we live in it. Her critically acclaimed first book, The Way to the Sea, was about the historical and cultural life of the Thames estuary, and she is currently working on a social history of hypochondria, to be published in 2024 by Granta in the UK and HarperCollins in the US. She makes a podcast about detective fiction called Shedunnit, which covers the "golden age" of detective fiction between WWI and WWII and its influence on today's crime fiction. She also worked on the map of Agatha Christie’s England and contributes reviews and essays to publications like Granta, the New Humanist, the Guardian and the Spectator.goldster.co.uk/book-ahead-events/inside-story-caroline-crampton/ 15 use-title
As Goldster Inside Story begins its Agatha Christie-themed month we bring you an author whose brilliance at plot twists, building suspense and unravelling mysteries had been compared to Richard Osman, Anthony Horowitz and the great Agatha Christie herself. Victoria Dowd is the prize-winning author of compelling titles such as The Smart Woman’s Murder Club, Body on the Island, The Supper Club Murders and the Book of Murders which came out in May. She lectures widely on Christie’s life and work and she has even organised a Christmas Countdown of favourite Christie novels. Outside of the crime writing arc, Victoria also knows her stuff. For many years she practised as a criminal barrister, familiar with the rituals and dark stories of the Old Bailey, Britain’s most notorious courtroom. She hails from Yorkshire, explaining her penchant for Gothic Crime for which she won the Go Gothic Short Story award in 2019. Join Victoria with Humphrey Hawksley to learn more about Victoria’s life and work and her stories about Christie. Was she the first to introduce the idea of the serial killer? What is the role of a red herring in a crime story? How does an author create a character like Hercule Poirot, the foreigner amongst the English, filled with obsessions and eccentricities and a fear of failure that, with a murderer on the loose, Poirot may have met his match? Humphrey will also ask about Victoria’s own fears and dreams. Can she ever match the stellar success of Agatha Christie and, if so, how? Goldster Inside Story 12.00 Friday, September 2nd 2022.goldster.co.uk/book-ahead-events/inside-victoria-dowd/ 15 use-title
Dr Kathryn Harkup is a chemist and author. She gives regular public talks on the disgusting and dangerous side of science as well as writing books looking at some of more macabre science in literature. For example, Making the Monster: The Science of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Death by Shakespeare: Snakebites, Stabbings and Broken Hearts and Vampirology: The Science of Horror’s Most Famous Fiend. Her first book, A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie, explores the chemical methods of murder used in the most popular murder mystery stories of all time and Kathryn is joining Lucinda Hawksley for Goldster’s very special Agatha Christie month.
Agatha Christie revelled in the use of poison to kill off unfortunate victims in her books; indeed, she employed it more than any other murder method, with the poison itself often being a central part of the novel. Her choice of deadly substances was far from random – the characteristics of each often provide vital clues to the discovery of the murderer.
Christie’s extensive chemical knowledge provides the backdrop for A is for Arsenic, in which Kathryn investigates the poisons used by the murderer in fourteen classic Agatha Christie mysteries. It looks at why certain chemicals kill, how they interact with the body, the cases that may have inspired Christie, and the feasibility of obtaining, administering and detecting these poisons, both at the time the novel was written and today. A is for Arsenic is a celebration of the use of science by the undisputed Queen of Crime. Join Kathryn and Lucinda at 12pm on 8 September to find out more.goldster.co.uk/book-ahead-events/inside-story-dr-kathryn-harkup/ 15 use-title
From the very first book publication in 1920 to the release of Kenneth Branagh’s film of Death on the Nile, this investigation into Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot celebrates a century of probably the world’s favourite fictional detective.
This book tells his story decade-by-decade, exploring his appearances not only in the original novels, short stories and plays but also across stage, screen and radio productions – and include more than 400 illustrations.
Based on Mark Aldridge’s original research, review excerpts and original Agatha Christie correspondence, Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World is a lively and accessible history of the character, offering new information and helpful pieces of context, that will delight all Agatha Christie fans, from a new generation of readers to those already highly familiar with the canon.
Dr Mark Aldridge, is Associate Professor of Screen Histories at Solent University, Southampton. His research into the world of Agatha Christie has resulted in publications including 2016’s Agatha Christie on Screen and the forthcoming Agatha Christie’s Marple. He is a regular speaker at Agatha Christie festivals and events.
Elly Griffiths wrote four novels under her own name (Domenica de Rosa) before turning to crime with The Crossing Places. This was her first novel featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway – since then her name has entered into the elite of fictional detectives, with The Times commenting “Galloway now seems as real as Marple and Morse’.
The Crossing Places won the Mary Higgins Clark award and several novels in the series have been shortlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year. The 14th novel in the series, The Locked Room, was published in February 2022 and Elly is currently writing the 15th book.
Elly also writes the Brighton Mysteries, a series set in the theatrical world of the 1950s and 1960s. The 6th book, The Midnight Hour came out in 2021 and the 7th is waiting in the wings, to be published soon. In 2020, Elly wrote what was described as a “standalone” mystery, The Stranger Diaries. It won the Edgar award for Best Crime Novel – and her detective, Harbinder Kaur, was so popular, that it became another series. The third book, Bleeding Heart Yard, is being published on 29 September.
In 2016 Elly was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library for her body of work – and she prolifically keeps producing new novels every year. Elly was one of our first Inside Story authors on Goldster and we are thrilled to invite her back on the eve of Agatha Christie’s birthday, to talk about her writing career and what it was like to be chosen as one of the special few authors asked to write a brand new Miss Marple story. Join Elly as she chats to Lucinda Hawksley at 6.30pm on Wednesday 14 September.
Death on the Nile is one of Agatha Christie’s most famous stories -- a glamorous river steamer, an exotic foreign location, the terrifying search for a murderer when an idyllic honeymoon is shattered by violent deaths and the wonderful detective character of Hercule Poirot. It was published in 1937 when Britain controlled Egypt and Nazism was on the rise in Germany. For this Agatha Christie-themed Goldster Inside Story, we are going to travel deep into the River Nile with Arabist Vyvyann Kinross and discuss its history, its secrets, its nature and its politics. His latest book is Nazis on the Nile which tells the unknown story of how German Nazis help build the post-colonial Egyptian dictatorship of President Gamal Abdel , culminating in Britain’s Suez Crisis of 1956. Vyvyan’s earlier book is Information Warriors: The Battle for Hearts and Minds in the Middle East. Vyvyan has roved the Nile region for decades. He has been a UN Senior Adviser to the Palestinian Authority and Government of Abu Dhabi and is on the Executive Board of the London-based Council for Arab British Understanding. Join Humphrey Hawksley with Vyvyan Kinross at 12.00 Thursday September 15th and hear the stories swirling around the mysteries of the River Nile.goldster.co.uk/book-ahead-events/inside-story-vyvyann-kinross/ 15 use-title
A Mind to Murder, by Daniella Bernett, begins at a performance of the Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap which has been performed in London’s West End for a record seventy years. It opened in 1952 with the story of seven strangers who find themselves snowed in at Monkswell Manor, a stately countryside guesthouse and, of course a killer in their midst. In A Mind to Murder, Daniella pulls off an incredible opening with a murder in the theatre and dialogue that draws in the reader with hairs rising on the back of the neck. This is the latest in Daniella’s Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series featuring a journalist and a jewel thief who are a magnet for intrigue, espionage and murder. Daniella describes Christie as her hero not only because of her intriguing plots, but also through her understanding of human nature with all its foibles. Daniella is a member of the International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America and the author of two poetry collections, Timeless Allure and Silken Reflections. Daniella will be with Humphrey Hawksley talking about the Mousetrap, A Mind to Murder, how an author follows in the footsteps of their hero and how being an author today differs from being one in the 1930s. Who are the Miss Marples and Hercule Poirots of today’s mystery crime. And could any other author create a story that runs for seventy years in London’s West End? 12.00 Friday 16th September on Goldster Inside Story.goldster.co.uk/book-ahead-events/inside-story-daniella-bernett/ 15 use-title
Andrew Eames is a London-based travel writer, broadcaster and ex-newspaper journalist. He is the author of five travel books; he also runs a website about Germany, and writes for a wide range of newspapers from the Financial Times to the Sunday Mirror.
His first book, Crossing the Shadow Line, featured his early journeys as a young adult in southeast Asia, at a time – the early 1980s – when the Far East was just emerging as a long-haul tourism destination.
On 29 September, Andrew will be joining Lucinda Hawksley to talk about his best-selling book, The 8.55 to Baghdad, in which he re-enacted a journey made by Agatha Christie, by train, following her divorce from her first husband Archibald Christie. It was in Iraq that Agatha met the man who was to be her second husband. Andrew will also be talking about his most recent book, Blue River Black Sea, which follows the River Danube from its source to its mouth, in the footsteps of travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor.goldster.co.uk/book-ahead-events/inside-story-andrew-eames/ 15 use-title
Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, looking like “some monstrous swollen Buddha”, sat Mrs Boynton. A few hours ago, she had been her usual bullying self, yet now she was motionless, never to bully anyone again. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist was the only sign of the fatal injection that had killed her.
Hercule Poirot, fortuitously travelling in the Middle East, is asked to assist but is given only 24 hours in which to solve the case. He had seen the victim and her family in Jerusalem, where he had overheard a chance remark made by one of Mrs Boynton’s children to an unknown interlocutor ‘You do see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?’ Was it matricide? Or was the poisoner yet another person with a reason to hate the matriarch? Mrs Boynton was the most detestable woman Poirot had ever met – and he was not alone in his dislike of her….
As we bring our Agatha Christie month to an end, join Lucinda Hawksley to chat about one of Christie’s most iconic works – and to talk about all things Agatha Christie and events you’ve enjoyed this month.
Nicola Solomon is the Chief Exec of the Society of Authors. Her role encompasses protecting authors' interests in negotiations/disputes with publishers and agents, advising individual authors and campaigning for authors’ rights, as well as for the wider cultural environment.
Nicola is an expert in the publishing industry and its associated law. She is also a Deputy District Judge and sits on the board of the International Authors’ Forum and the British Copyright Council as well as the European Writers Council.
On 20 October Nicola will be joining Lucinda Hawksley for the Goldster Inside Story to talk about the history of the society, its role today – and all the fascinating authors’ estates which the Society manages.
goldster.co.uk/book-ahead-events/inside-story-nicola-solomon/ 15 use-title
Stephen Barker is an independent museum consultant and historian specialising in work relating to the First World War and British Civil Wars. During his research he came across a story that had never been told before and began to research what would become his second book. The Flying Sikh tells the unique story of Flying Officer Hardit Singh Malik, the only Sikh airman to fly with the RFC and the RAF during the First World War. This book tells the remarkable account of one man’s struggle to enlist, while fighting against discrimination, and then his service as a fighter pilot over the battlefields of Flanders.
The Flying Sikh is the only detailed study of an Indian national enlisting in Britain’s armed forces during the First World War. It is also an account of India’s role in the war, looking at the rise of Indian nationalism and at the challenges which confronted Indians who wanted to take up the status of a commissioned officer in His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Stephen Barker has run successful projects for the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, and the Battlefields Trust, and has worked for several universities, charities and other organizations, designing exhibitions and making funding applications. He will be joining Lucinda Hawksley on 21 October for the Goldster Inside Story.
For this Inside Story Lucinda Hawksley will be chatting to Stephen Barker, author of The Flying Sikh, the unique story of Flying Officer Hardit Singh Malik, the only Sikh airman to fly with the RFC and the RAF during WW1. Come along to discover the remarkable account of one man’s struggle to enlist – while fighting against discrimination – and of his service as a fighter pilot.goldster.co.uk/book-ahead-events/inside-story/ 15 use-title