Merlin Unwin Books

"Merlin Unwin Books are lively, innovative countryside book publishers.

Their well-produced range of rural, wildlife, fieldsports and fishing books never fail to inform and entertain."

Philip Dunne MP
co-founder of Ottakar’s bookshops

That Strange Alchemy

Pheasants, Trout and a Middle-aged Man

I need to start thinking like a shooter, for shooters and fishers, even though they are often the same person, think very differently.”

So writes author Laurence Catlow as his fishing season on the lonely northern rivers comes to an end, and he prepares for his next shooting season on his own small shoot on the edge of the Pennines.

Many sportsmen enjoy both shooting and fishing, and in That Strange Alchemy, Catlow examines

• fishing and shooting memories and why they differ
• why both sports are so important to him
• the loss of his shooting dog and the undertaking of a new one
• best fishing days and how these differ from best shooting days
• the anxieties of running a guest shooting day
• fishing in middle age compared to in youth

Catlow writes with great wit, modesty and insight.

Author: Laurence Catlow
Photographer: Rod Calbrade
ISBN: 978 1 906122 03 4
Published: September 2008
Format: 234 x 156 mm
Binding: Hardback
No. of pages: 304
50 black & white photographs
Price: £17.99

That Strange Alchemy by Laurence Catlow
Bad Digby: not always responsive
Bad Digby: not always responsive

Press reviews

Reviewed in Shooting Gazette in December 2008

'A celebration of all that is wonderful about our treasured sporting
pastimes, and a perfect gift for the shooting man or woman in your life. If
you need a book to warm the soul this winter, then look no further than
Laurence Catlow’s latest.'

Reviewed in Trout and Salmon in December 2008

'Readers of a similar age may nod their heads in agreement when Catlow reflects upon life.  Anyone who shoots will understand his anxiety when hosting a guest day; anyone who fishes will revel in his accounts of catching trout amid great hatches of blue-winged olives.'

Reviewed in Fieldsports Magazine in December 2008

'Many of us will identify with what he has to say.'

Reviewed in Shooting & Conservation (BASC) in November 2008

'This is the stuff that will delight the author’s many fans and convert many more.'

Reviewed in Shooting Times in September 2008

'His ability to recall with warmth the events down to the last detail and to describe then, and his sporting ethos, in such an absorbing way mark him out as one of the finest sporting writers alive. This is vintage Catlow.'

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