Five or six summers ago, I was browsing in a shabbily genteel second-hand bookstore in a university town somewhere in the middle of the United States. The shop had a substantial stock of fiction, a generous and eclectic supply of non-fiction and the sort of haphazard shelving policy which actively demands exploration. I cannot now remember which section I was in when I discovered Reginald Reynolds’s extraordinary Beards: An Omnium Gatherum (1949). I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in fiction, but beyond that it could have been anywhere . . .