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It’s 20 years since alco-cop Harry Hole made his debut in The Bat.
Neither he nor his creator have lost their appetite for the dark side or for creatures of the night — in this case a “vampirist” with steel dentures who shows worrying signs of being the only serial killer to have ever escaped Hole’s handcuffs.
He not only provides a super-complex plot with plenty of twists (two within the first 12 pages) but also skilfully continues the lives of the all-too-fallible characters we have grown to love and hate.
Harry and his stepson Oleg — now a student at the police college where Harry lectures — almost come to blows when Rakel, wife and mother to them, falls dangerously ill.
There’s London’s blue-chip status as a tax-efficient investment opportunity, as well as a bijou money launderette for international ne’er-do-wells.
There’s a confusing overlayering of socialist and neoliberal housing policies, from Aneurin Bevan’s 1949 Housing Act, via Margaret Thatcher’s “right to buy” and “buy to let”, to the Conservatives’ Housing and Planning Act of 2016, which effectively ends social housing as we have known it.
You should find this an excellent way to sample the evolving content of this website.There are industrial levels of spin from those able to game the system — did you know the profits of our five leading housebuilders increased 480 per cent between 20? And yet it all becomes much simpler once you appreciate that the rate of return on capital exceeds growth in the wider economy.And there is a political denial that the basic unaffordability of housing is even a problem, despite the fact that Shelter calculates there are 170,000 homeless people in London; that British home ownership has actually fallen since 2010 and is the fourth lowest in Europe; that London house prices rose 57 per cent from 2011-16 while average wages actually fell... The French economist Thomas Piketty distilled this into three characters — rg — in his 2014 treatise Capital.Fortunately, my good friend John Iannone graciously took my place at the last minute.
Of course, the Lenten season is also our busiest time of year and consequently, the backlog of materials that have accumulated since our last update in January is immense!The London housing crisis is at once fiendishly complicated and incredibly simple.