A London Friday

My daughter tells me that it was Arsenal, not Manchester United, playing soccer football the other night. As I was just off a plane, it might have been the Forty Niners for all I could tell. Apologies to both teams. (But I still don’t know who Tun is.)

Thursday in London, it rained. Not exactly a redundant statement, since they\’e2\’80\’99ve been having a warm, dry spell here\’e2\’80\’94or warm and dry for London, anyway. I set off from my hotel up near Hyde Park to meet my new British editor near Oxford Circus (a meeting of roads, not elephants and jugglers) and decided to walk, but the rain was heavier than I had thought, or at any rate, steadier, and by the time I found the place, I was soaked from the knees down. Raincoats just aren\’e2\’80\’99t meant for tall women.

Although the restaurant lights failed about five minutes after we got there, that was the extent of the day\’e2\’80\’99s disasters, and the meeting went well. We talked about plans for next year\’e2\’80\’99s books, paperback and hardback, and generally got to know each other. Allison and Busby is a relatively small British company with a great crime list (I found last night that my friend Harry Keating\’e2\’80\’94HRF to the mystery world\’e2\’80\’94is going to be published with them as well.) They\’e2\’80\’99ve done the last two books of mine here, and seem interesting in continuing our relationship, so all was good.

It wasn\’e2\’80\’99t until Friday that I got to my excuse for coming to London, a trip to the Imperial War Museum. This is a superb place to visit, its focus obviously on Britain\’e2\’80\’99s wars, but the scope of that focus is broad, encompassing women during wartime, a current exhibit on the Holocaust, a fair amount of war-time art, and similar themes. I was there to look at espionage between the wars, and found myself escorted to the upper level reading room, where the extremely helpful and knowledgeable gentleman in charge laid out books and manipulated the computers to find me a reading list. Mostly I copied down titles, which I will see if my university\’e2\’80\’99s research librarians can track down for me, and I also got suggestions for how to find a capable research assistant to do long-distance library fossicking for me.

Dinner was at a nice, familial Italian restaurant with Harry Keating and his wife, the actress Sheila Mitchell, long-time friends who love my daughter as their own. Talk among the four of us ranged from writing to acting to politics, and a grand time was had by all.

When we got back to the hotel, we found the television was playing that movie about vampires with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, fascinatingly awful in all kinds of ways.

And so to bed.

Comments

  1. I can’t imagine you having too much trouble locating a research assistant. I mean, seriously, who would not want to get to work with Laurie R. King? I’m in engineering and generally can’t stand having to read history, but I would love that job=) Good luck anyway.

    Ah Interview with the Vampire. Kirsten Dunst really creeped me out in that movie.

  2. FC Thun are a Swiss football club from Thun, Switzerland, according to Wikipedia.

  3. Dinner with Harry Keating and Sheila Mitchell sounds a bit like Valhalla to me. He is such a wonderful scholar of the whole mystery field. Can one exchange restaurant suggestions? Despite a general ouch! at the current exchange rate, we had lovely meals at Bombay Brasserie and Pasha, both near Gloucester Rd tube. And the Italian restaurant…? And was the 1am Calif time or London time ?(& since you’re jet lagged, who knows). have a great time –Meredith T.

  4. The Imperial War Museum is a wonderful place. I went there once to see the films of a Scottish woman film maker (Ruby Grierson) who had mad propaganda films during the war. They were screened for me on my own on film and was charged nothing! A truly fabulous resource. Watched and dozed (not well) through a fascinating doc last night on telly about the espionage activities of Arthur Ransome during the Russian Revolution…

  5. made propaganda films NOT mad propaganda films!

  6. I take it you are not an Anne Rice fan, Ms King. LOL

  7. Good to read the London commentary, and a shame you’e missed the recent heatwave!

    Very good news to hear also that A&B will be publishing The Art of Detection. Please, please confirm that we will be able to read it here at the same time as all those lucky US readers!

    And we need a tour…

  8. I went to the Imperial War Museum a number of years back; one of the temporary exhibits, in some small rooms, was on the Channel Islands under German occupation. There was a soundtrack of German marial music playing throughout the exhibit, and after a while I was horrified to find I was thinking “I love a parade ….” Proof of how music can affect one. I didn’t know what the music was — could have incoluded the Horst Wessel music.

  9. Laurie,

    If you are still in need of a research assistant, I work in an academic library in London, am familiar with the IWM (I did my MA Dissertation on Women Police in the Great War) and have just finished working on an Oral History Project dealing with WWII. I love your books and would be happy to do some legwork for you. Please let me know if you need any help. britlife9902 at yahoo.com

  10. If you’re still in England, a good resource for WW2 is Bletchley Park, Bletchley (now Milton Keynes) Bucks. Bletchley Park was one of the best-kept secrets in the War. It was where the Enigma Machine deciphered German Codes. Fertile ground for espionage!

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