Book reviews: The Look of Love | Mick Jagger | Midnight in Peking

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SOHO, 1960. A man is auditioning a young woman in his strip club, the Raymond Revuebar.

The Look of Love

By Paul Willetts

Serpent’s Tail, £8.99 ***

Paul Raymond eyes the woman with grim professionalism. He knows exactly what he wants — she must be under 30, with smallish breasts, ideally nine stone and 5ft 8in tall. The girl takes her clothes off. What he sees doesn’t excite him sexually. When he sees nudity, he sees money – enough money, as Paul Willetts explains, to buy huge chunks of Soho. A fascinating recent history of grubby London..

Mick Jagger

By Philip Norman

HarperCollins, £9.99 ***

Huge stars, Philip Norman tells us, normally have an inner void – a troubled soul in need of huge amounts of attention. That’s what gives them their drive. But Mick Jagger was a happy, well-adjusted middle-class boy. He had a loving family. He was clever, athletic and attractive to girls. One day he met a boy on the London platform at Dartford station who dressed like a beatnik. It was Keith Richards. If you want detail, it’s all here in this 600-page book. The drug bust in Sussex. Altamont. The women. The fact he’s still got all his hair.

Midnight In Peking

By Paul French

Penguin, £7.99 *****

IN 1937 a teenage girl was murdered in Peking. She was Pamela Werner, daughter of the former British consul. Someone had carved her up horribly, removing her heart and several organs. She’d been killed with a blow to the head, and then drained of blood. The killer was never caught. Paul French, who tells the story beautifully, reconstructs the aftermath of the crime and tries to solve it. He takes us to the hangouts in the swanky Legation Quarter, to the “Badlands”, and finally into the tragic, seedy room where the deed might well have been done..