Have You Eaten Grandma? by Gyles Brandreth review – good grammar, with jokes

The former Conservative MP has written an entertaining guide to how to write properly, with an anecdote about the Queen’s loo breaks thrown in

It beggars belief today, but Gyles Brandreth comes from a near-mythical time when a media-friendly MP could also be an intelligent and literate person with a broad cultural hinterland. Now the colourfully sweatered stalwart of Countdown and organiser of the first British Scrabble championships has bounded ebulliently into the rich market for books about how to write proper. Naturally, I took up my mechanical pencil and prepared to festoon the margins with proofreading marks.

I was in for a pleasant surprise. It is almost an iron law that writers who tell other people how to write, from Lynne Truss to Simon Heffer, will as often as not get things technically wrong and break their own rules. It happens only very rarely here: I counted a ...