Thoughts of Kaye, bodice-rippers and historical novels sent me into the arms of I Allan Sealy. (Figuratively speaking. The Babu is a highly moral Babu, as Babus go.) From The Trotter-Nama, page 561:

How the Raj is done:

I wish to shew how the Raj is done. This is the play of children, good adept, rest easy. You must have the following ingredients. (It matters little if one or another be wanting, nor is the order of essence. Introduce them as you please, and as often.) Let the pot boil of its own.

An elephant, a polo club, a snake, a length of rope, a rajah or a pearl of price (some use both), a silver moon, a dropped glove, a railway junction, some pavilions in the distance, a chota peg, a tent peg, a learned brahmin, a cruel king, a chapati (or chaprasi), a measure of justice, gunpowder (q.v.), equal portions of law and order, a greased cartridge, a tamarind seed or else a cavalry regiment, a moist eye, some high intentions, two pax of Britannica, Glucose biscuits, an ounce of valour, something in the middle, a Victoria Cross, a soupcon of suspense (q.v), a bearer, a dhobi (or dhoti), a chee-chee, a dekchi (or deck-chair), a pinch of dust, a trickle of perspiration, a backdrop with temples or mosques (some use both), a church pew, a little fair play, a boar, some tall grass, a tiger, a rain cloud, a second snake or a mongoose, a flutter of the heart, a sharp sword, a bared ankle, walnut juice or burnt cork (some use both), a boy of British blood unsullied, a locket.

There’s another one-million-dollar author out there, she’s the Irish PM’s daughter, has written a book where even the blurb sucks, and is described as elfin. From the That’s-All-You-Need-To-Know department.

Gambit Publications asked readers to submit eye-catching titles for chess books. The finalists include: How to be a Complete Bastard in Chess (John Graham, USA), Chainsaw Massacre Chess (Douglas Ryan, Canada), Thoroughly Dominate your Opponent Until He Starts to Cry, then Checkmate Him (Alexander Allain, USA), Learn Kick*ss Chess (Ari Hyv?rinen, Finland) and the brutal Hardcore Chess: floor your opponent, nail him down and deliver right into the face, mate! (Stefan, Germany). There were gentler titles too. Like Lord of the Kings. And the eminently useful 101 Ideas on Seducing a Grandmaster.

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