The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy (1984)
Cold War thriller much loved by Ronald Reagan, this was the first novel to be published by the US Naval Institute.
Hollywood Wives by Jackie Collins (1983)
Sex, scandal and lashings of Hollywood gossip, interspersed with envy-inducing shopping sprees on Rodeo Drive.
Lace by Shirley Conran (1982)
One of the pearls of this gloriously tacky tale of a movie star’s search for her roots is the infamous line: ‘Which one of you bitches is my mother?’
Riders by Jilly Cooper (1985)
Show-jumping hero Rupert Campbell-Black set a generation of schoolgirl hearts aflame in vintage Cooper romp.
The Firm by John Grisham (1991)
Rattling account of the shady goings-on at a Memphis law firm that sealed Grisham’s reputation. Might well put you off scuba-diving.