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Harris revisited

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astragal

In the style of his entertaining No Voice from the Hall, curator emeritus of the RIBA Drawings Collection John Harris supplies more reminiscences from his life in architecture, especially as a country house visitor (mostly uninvited! ) in Echoing Voices: More Memories of a Country House Snooper (John Murray, £17.99). It is like a series of anecdotes told by someone at a party who keeps topping up your glass. There are walk-on appearances by the great and (not so) good - Anthony Blunt, Basil Spence and Paul Mellon among them - and glimpses of properties as far apart as Prague and County Sligo. Along the way are a couple of nasty deaths (the archaeologist in Malaya who falls onto poisoned stakes in a pig-trap, the Argentinian aesthete in Paris who trips on the cord of his dressing gown), and plenty of digs at Pevsner: 'Nikolaus was never one for crawling under barbed-wire fences.' It's all great fun - the Christmas-present problem solved.

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