Plenty of word war two books are bidding to be put in stockings this Christmas but there’s only one that might actually be wearing stockings. Matthew Sweet’s (‘Shepperton Babylon’) new book ‘The West End Front: the Wartime Secrets of London’s Grand Hotels’ forgoes the usual World War Two we’ll-meet-again-mythology and heads instead for the Ritz, the Savoy, the Dorchester and Claridge’s for sex, spying, drinking, more sex and, occasionally, a very large bomb. Hailed by Mark Gattis as ‘Delightfully gossipy and often moving’ it has already been Radio 4 book of the week and south Londoners have a chance meet the author on Monday 12 December at our favourite SE London independent, Kirkdale Bookshop in Sydenham. Tickets are only £4 but we advise that you book. Michael Hodges
For info, see kirkdalebookshop.com.