Sunday, September 11, 2005

Well, this was fantastic. "Murder by the Book" in Denver had a cake baked in my honour, with the cover of "The Firemaker" recreated in coloured icing sugar. Incredible!

The cake was prepared by a specialist baker called le Bakery Sensual - - which bills itself as "The Sexiest Bakery in Town". Apparently they usually specialise in baking cakes in the shape of body parts. "Arms and legs?" I asked, puzzled. "No," came the reply, "those parts of the body which are usually hidden." Being normally self-conscious about how I sit in public while wearing my kilt, I felt strangely compelled to cross my legs.

This was a really cute store located in a house built in the 1880s on South Pearl Street. Lauri Ver Shure gave me a warm welcome when I stepped over the chalk tracing of a body on the pavement and climbed the steps to the front porch of her bookstore.

But there was another surprise awaiting me - the arrival of Philip Cherner, whose photograph of the Forbidden City was used on the cover of my book. Phil is a criminal lawyer in Denver, whose passion is photography. During numerous trips to China he has taken hundreds of pictures. He wrote to me when he discovered that his photograph was being used for the book, and today turned up in person to say, Hi. I was, as we say in Scotland, dead chuffed.

And Phil got more than he bargained for, too. When the readers who came to my talk discovered that it was his photograph on the cover, he found himself sitting next to me autographing all the books.

It was a lively group that I spoke to, and I signed another huge pile of books, before being whisked off by Charles and Marilyn to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. Very apposite. My fortune cookie at the meal's end was interesting. It read: "The world will soon be ready to receive your talents". As long as the world buys my books I'll be happy!

Earlier Charles took me to the local Farmers' Market where stalls groaning with local produce were crowded with Saturday morning shoppers. The air was filled with the smell of roasting chilli peppers.

I like Denver, even if the altitude does leave me a little breathless. The air here is so clear and dry. The temperature today soared into the mid-thirties centigrade, although they said it could just as easily have been snowing. Hard to imagine.

Houston will be hot and humid, without a snowflake in sight. But I'm looking forward to being taken in charge again by La Patronne, and reconnecting with my old friend and China mentor, Dick Ward.

Tonight Charles and Marilyn have gone to the opening of the Denver Opera, and I am just chilling out and packing for tomorrow's flight. Another day, another airplane, another city. There is just no end to this country.

Au revoir Denver. Et merci beaucoup, Charles et Marilyn.

Murder By The Book

With Lauri Ver Shure and THE cake

With Phil Cherner

Charles at the Market

1 comment:

ARGIL said...

Believe this fortune cookie!