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Lean as a gnawed bone

and as cold as an axe head.’

Thus the description of the Duke of Norfolk in Wolf Hall, which is every bit as good, and exhilarating to read, as the reviews say it is, and the beginning of which is an object lesson in how to start a piece of writing in the middle of the action.

The description sparks the image of ‘lean’ Cassio in Julius Caesar, but also … of poor old Posh (of & Becks) who never manages to look as if she’s enjoying anything. Quite the opposite of Ms Dahl, if the tv ads for her upcoming cookery show are anything to go by. Move over Nigella, there’s a new star in the kitchen.

[later.. ] But of course Posh is Anne ‘glancing around with her restless black eyes, eating nothing, missing nothing, tugging at the pearls around her little neck.’