I started reading Adrian Bell’s Corduroy yesterday, the Country Book Club edition of 1951, a treat that had been in store for a couple of weeks. My best friend, who knows my taste for a countryside I never really knew, sent it, and although I am only two chapters in, so this is not a review, there is something about it I want to note.

My friend discovered Bell’s trilogy, of which this is the first part, because they are illustrated by Harry Becker, an artist he much admires, with good reason, although Wikipedia knows little about him. One thing leads to another.

And so it was for me; I too knew nothing of Bell. A quick look proved an eye-opener. In 1930 he invented the cryptic crossword as we know it today, for The Times. Not what I expected of a man drawn to the land. Son of a newspaper editor, father of BBC correspondent (and MP) Martin Bell and Anthea Bell, who translated the Asterix books, Adrian Bell sounds like a really interesting person. I’m taking Corduroy slowly, and will surely move on to the rest of the trilogy, but for now I will content myself with exploring the The Adrian Bell Website.

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