Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wow! What a gig! This was one of the best events of the tour. A great turnout, a Chinese buffet, forty books sold. And such lovely people.

Before the food is served, La Patronne, Le Beau Frère and I move from table to table, talking to the ladies, and one gentleman, who have come along to hear me speak. They are all such enthusiasts. Most of them confess to reading as many as five books a week, and they are all anxious to know when the second of the Chinese series is to be published in the States.

I tell them it is dependent upon sales. If we sell enough copies, the publisher will buy the rest of the series. Perhaps, they say, it will be possible to import them from the UK. I explain that I would prefer that St. Martin's Press bring them out, and that buying the UK books on the internet, or wherever else, might discourage them from doing so.

Richard and Mary Alice, the proprietors of the Mystery Lovers' Bookshop here in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, run a fantastic store, and have built up a large and loyal clientele who read copious volumes of books. Their enthusiasm and know-how is impressive.

Mary Alice asks me about my French series, which begins with "One for Sorrow", and when I explain the scenario she is hugely excited by it. "You must show it to your editor," she says. "There is a huge demand now for mysteries set in exotic places. And France is one of them. I could sell these forever."

I am encouraged by just how well the idea has been received everywhere in America.

The group is receptive and responsive to my talk, and afterwards we drive off into a warm night, content with this, our third last event of the tour. If we do another tour, we will certainly come back here again.

It has been a day of clear skies and hot sun, an afternoon killed by a visit to the Waterworks cinema complex where we saw a Jodie Foster film called "Flightplan", which failed to deliver what it promised. Somehow it managed to segue seamlessly from thriller to farce, cheering us up with a hilarious ending - a denouement to die (laughing) from.

And tomorrow we have a four hundred mile drive to New York, where we are staying in the upper west side of Manhattan, in the apartment of our American friend from France, Ellen Shire, former dancer in the New York ballet, abstract painter, and complete loony. She is moving out to stay with her brother, Peter, to make room for us. We are fortunate to have such good friends.

Ah, well... Two more events.

Stagger to Saturday, and Boston, and it's all over.

Signing Books at the Mystery Lovers' Bookshop

With Proprietors Richard and Mary Alice

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