Christopher Middleton's writing in Crypto-Topographia falls within the genre of 'short prose', which Middleton defines as 'liminal, ludic and disruptive'. Many of the texts concern places, singly or clustered, which offer their own secret store of time: lived time, signs of presence, whispers or howls. Time is stretched back, folded or pretended, and can transform a group of trees into 'the locus of a drama' ( A Close Shave With Sacrilege ). Sometimes place is supplanted by object: sliding carpets and material colour...Dispersed among variously 'situated' texts, history scintillates, not as a plan, but as an ensemble of glimpses. The epilogue records a strange episode of travel, The Gaze of the Turkish Mona Lisa , a masterly description of a Turkish lady, whom Middleton manages to depict, while refraining from looking at her.