This title recounts the author's discovery that his father killed his mother's lover, and, unique in British legal history, was acquitted on the grounds it was a "crime passionel". After his father's death, an aunt writes to Derek saying his real father was the Italian Ambassador to London.
'Some people's secrets should never be told. The secret, though, that surrounded my parents' unhappy life together, was divulged to me by accident-'Hidden under some papers in his father's bureau, the sixteen-year-old Derek Malcolm finds a book called The Judges and the Damned. Browsing through the Contents pages Derek reads: 'Mr Justice tries Lieutenant Malcolm - page 33.' But there is no page 33. The whole chapter has been ripped out of the book. It turns out that Derek's father killed his mother's lover, and, unique in British legal history, was acquitted (although guilty) on the grounds that this was a 'crime passionel'. After his father's death, Derek receives a postcard from his Aunt Phylis, which informs him, rather baldly, that his real father was the Italian Ambassador to London. By turns laconic and affectionate, Derek Malcolm has written a richly evocative memoir of a family sinking into hopeless disrepair.
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Derek Malcolm was chief film critic of the Guardian for thirty years and still writes for the paper. Educated at Eton and Merton College, Oxford, he became first a steeplechase rider and then an actor after leaving university. He became a journalist in the sixties joining the Guardian, where he was a features sub-editor and writer, racing correspondent and finally film critic. He directed the London Film Festival for a spell in the eighties and is now President of both the International Film Critics Association and the British Federation of Film Societies. He is a frequent broadcaster on radio and television and a veteran of film festival juries all over the world. His most recent book was A Century of Cinema (2000). He lives in Deal, Kent, with his wife but also has a flat in London.
Family Secrets by Derek Malcolm
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