Oh dear Lord, has it come to this? A title whose punnish credentials might see it employed by Jasper Fforde? Too late to correct it, though! For, my friends, this is nothing less than a Sunday Saloon post, and is meant to be produced on the hoof, off the cuff and reeking of first draftiness. The Salon is about (or so it seems to me) things what one is reading. Today, then, I have been mostly reading Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith. It features a Russian militia detective call Arkady Renko and we follow him around Moscow as he attempts to solve the riddle of three bodies – shot, mutilated – dumped in Gorky Park. I’m about 25% of the way through and I’m actually staggered by the quality of the writing. This guy can write. I keep coming across fantastic snippets of prose, after which I tell myself: OK, he’s hit the high water mark with that one – it’ll be downhill from here. And then Smith tops it. All the while, the story is incredibly gripping. If I was on a beach, I’d burn through this is in a day. But I’m not; I’m at home marking essays, so I’ll have to restrict myself to smaller doses. …And, yes, I feel that there’s no point trying to write a beautiful thriller. Smith – the git – has done it. And since it was published almost thirty years ago, he seemed to achieve this height without Wikipedia. What gives?