Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society 

Ella, a high school teacher, is perturbed when a student’s copy of a very well-known novel tells the story in a different way. Why are the library books rewriting their … Continue reading

October 16, 2014 · 4 Comments

In Conversation with Paul Cornell

The dark is rising . . . Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect Rob Toshack is murdered in … Continue reading

July 9, 2014 · 4 Comments

The Other Tree

Reading D K Mok’s excellent campus / desert science fiction novel The Other Tree was a delirious fun-ride, bouncing between the modes of Dan Brown (but so much more intelligent … Continue reading

July 7, 2014 · 6 Comments

Vulpes Random: The Thirty-Nine Steps

I was on the radio on Tuesday, on BBC Radio Three, on a late-night discussion programme called Free Thinking, talking about John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps, and the run-up to … Continue reading

June 26, 2014 · 5 Comments

Mary Stewart 1916-2014

When I told the Foxes I wanted to write about Mary Stewart, there was a chorus of ‘oh no, she’s died? Oh, yes please, we want to read about her’. … Continue reading

May 17, 2014 · 8 Comments

A Vulpes Random on Voices from the Past

(It’s such a trite title, but it’s meaningful. Stay with me.) You know how it is: you get caught by an idealistic buying urge, plus a very reasonable sale price, … Continue reading

December 7, 2013 · 1 Comment


Hild, Nicola Griffith’s sixth novel, is very long and very detailed. It’s also the most absorbing and addictive story I’ve read in years. I was subliminally resentful for days until … Continue reading

November 8, 2013 · 13 Comments

Until You’re Mine by Samantha Hayes

I know…I’m reviewing a grown-up book. I do sometimes read them. And this one is pretty extraordinary. I recently went on holiday to Mexico. It was very much a beach … Continue reading

September 28, 2013 · 3 Comments

The Perfect Suicide by Lotte Worth

‘I loved him, missed him and hated him. Every day. Although it did me no good…’ . Following a family tragedy, Emma escapes to university in search of a new … Continue reading

May 30, 2013 · 6 Comments

The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark

The Mandelbaum Gate was published in 1965, an interesting time in Middle East history. It was two years before the Six Day War between Israel, and its neighbours, Jordan, Syria … Continue reading

April 23, 2013 · 6 Comments

Never Coming Home by Evonne Wareham

Imagine, if you will, an unlikely collaboration between Katie Fforde and Lee Child: a novel in which a  garden designer with a fabulous figure and two gold medals from the … Continue reading

March 14, 2013 · 5 Comments

Better than Bond

My friend Emma (who is researching the spy novel) told me I should try reading some Desmond Cory. I had never heard of him, but I dutifully ordered a couple … Continue reading

January 30, 2013 · 3 Comments

Dominion by C J Sansom

C J Sansom is already well-known as the author of the Shardlake novels, a series of crime novels set in Tudor London. This stand-alone work is very different at some … Continue reading

January 28, 2013 · 4 Comments

The Healing of Luther Grove by Barry Gornell

It’s a fairly safe bet that the nice people at the Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board have no plans to send Barry Gornell a complimentary calendar this year, because his … Continue reading

November 16, 2012 · 4 Comments



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)