NEW OUT; Switch IF THE TELEVISION'S NOT ON OFF
What? A Sickness In The Family by Denise Mina (Titan Books Limited, pounds 14.99) What's it about? No one's family is perfect: this is the key theme that makes Denise Mina's thriller so hard to put down. When the outwardly perfect Usher family sat down for a rather awkward Christmas dinner, they had no idea it would be their last. Following the mysterious murder of a neighbour, three generations of the household are individually picked off, and suggestions of a paranormal presence begin to grow. One by one, their darkest secrets emerge, revealing enough dysfunctional behaviour to keep Jeremy Kyle busy for years.
Is it any good? A Sickness In The Family is a satisfying mystery centring on the worst of human nature.
What? Born Brilliant - The Life Of Kenneth Williams by Christopher Stevens (John Murray, pounds 25) What's it about? The inner torments, compulsions and often appalling behaviour of one of Britain's best-loved comic actors are laid bare in this excellent biography. Kenneth Williams (1926-1988) was a talented working-class London boy who always remained emotionally tied to his doting mother. He suffered from an alarming range of complexes and neuroses. A short, effeminate figure, his trademark was a voice like a trumpet, an exaggeratedly posh accent and an extremely camp demeanour. Although he achieved some stage success, he did better on radio and television chat shows. His temperamental, bossy nature made him difficult to work with or befriend. He is best remembered for his leading roles in the bawdy Carry On films, which still run on television, which have kept his memory and popularity alive.
Is it any good? Stevens has used new, unpublished material from Williams' personal diaries to give a fascinating insight into the mind of an intelligent gay actor who flaunted his homosexuality yet inwardly never came to terms with it.
What? Conversations With Myself by Nelson Mandela (Macmillan, pounds 25) What's it about? This is a rare insight into the mind of Nelson Mandela. With snippets of conversation, written notes, musing diary entries and letters to loved ones, the book illuminates the anti-apartheid legend's 27 years in prison. …