Book reviews: Blood on the Altar | End This Depression Now! | Keith Richards | Married Love

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William Leith reviews the latest paperback releases

Blood on the Altar by Tobias Jones

(Faber, £8.99) * * * *

THIS is one of the creepiest true-crime books I’ve read for ages. It’s about a 16-year-old girl who disappears one Sunday after going to church in southern Italy. Her family keep asking questions. What about the strange, obsessive guy she’d gone to meet the day she disappeared? Years later, a woman is murdered in Bournemouth. The same man, it turns out, is her neighbour. He’s got a nasty fetish – sneaking up on women and cutting their hair. Then the first girl’s body is found in the church. She’d been there for 16 years. Very sinister.

End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman

(Norton, £9.99) * * *

IF nothing else, this book by Nobel laureate Paul Krugman will make you think about money. There’s a problem with money. We’re in debt. We could stop spending so much, which is what Cameron and Osborne want. But some people, including Krugman, think that if we stop, the system might seize up. So Krugman suggests that we carry on spending by creating more money and sort the debts out down the line. Fascinating and timely.

Keith Richards by Victor Bockris

(Omnibus Press, £9.95) * * *

THIS is a hugely engrossing biography. If you liked Richards’s own book, it’s definitely worth reading. Though unauthorised, Bockris talked to just about everybody, including Richards himself. A picture emerges of a man obsessed with his guitar; who became addicted to heroin probably because, for a while at least, it helped him concentrate on his guitar; a man who lives to write, perform and record but who does not like the poncy world of celebrity. Richards only ever missed one gig – at Mick Jagger’s wedding to Bianca.

Married Love by Tessa Hadley

(Vintage, £8.99) * * * *

TESSA Hadley gives us snapshots of women’s lives in these lovely, poised stories – like the woman who’s taking something out of the oven when her husband drops dead and she’s left with the body in the moments before the ambulance comes. Or another woman, looking at the sleeping body of her internet lover, who, in an awkward moment before they made love, said the wrong thing, which meant she knew nothing would come of the relationship. A feast of angst and disappointment.