Monday, October 24, 2011

Home Again

I’m just back from a long, long trip, have much to catch up on and haven’t got much time to write, so I’m going to bore you, instead, with some photos of my grandchildren.
And some other photos of friends I met while in Europe, one of whom looks surprisingly like me and one of which was a bottle.
First, the kids.

This one is named Fardou.

She didn’t want me to leave.

And turned her face away when she found out it was a “goodbye photo”. Her siblings, left to right, are Fraukje, Jonathan and Anner, just over a year old – and big.

Here’s the mother of the brood, reading Murder is Everywhere to the kids. Mom and Dad were married in 2002. Upon the occasion of which, they bought a case, en primeur of a very good wine.

Don’t know what en primeur means? Go here:

And, to mark my arrival, we shared their very first bottle of the stuff. Well, not just because of my arrival. Turns out, my visit corresponded with their wedding anniversary, which we celebrated in the Hague in a delightful little Michelin one-star called Callas:

Note for those of you who aren't wine buffs: Chateau Haut Brion is one of the five remaining Premiers Crus of the Classification of 1855.

Don't know what the Classification of 1855 was?

Go here:

Note to Michael and Stan: Eat your hearts out, guys!

The next day, the folks from Karakter, my fabulous Dutch publisher, wined me, and dined me and took me to a bookshop to meet this guy:

He looks surprisingly like me, don't you think?

Then it was on to Florence, where I spent two nights at the home of the delightful Annamaria Alfieri, author of City of Silver.

Here we are, the two of us, on her terrace. And, yes, that building in the background is the Palazzo della Signoria. Some location, huh?

While I was in Italy, I popped down to Sicily for a few days.

This is a shot of the highly-unusual cathedral in Palermo. Note the Moorish influence.

I also tried to take some photos of numerous bottles of Nero d'Avola.
But, for some reason, they all came out blurry.

Michael and Stan: Eat your hearts out all over again.

I returned home, somewhat the worse for wear, to get the news that A Vine in the Blood got its first review - one of the coveted stars from Publisher's Weekly:

The book launches in North America in December, but is already available, on Kindle, in many other places around the world. (English language edition only.)

That's it for this edition. Tune in next Monday, folks, for a great post from our friend and guest author Martin Limon.

If you know Martin's work (and, if you don't - you should) you'll be expecting it to be about Korea.

But it isn't.

Leighton - Monday


  1. And we all turn green with envy for having traveled to the Netherlands, Sicily, Florence, etc.

    And congratulate you and the parents for having such adorable, obviously happy children.

    Now I'll have to read another Camilleri, and find books set in Florence and Amsterdam.

  2. Come on, Leighton, fess up. I know you borrowed those kids from Central Casting. They're just too perfect to be real! And from the looks on grandpa's face they certainly must be. I better stop with before if drives Tim to phrases like "aw shucks" and "gee whiz." But one thing is for sure, it sounds like a terrific trip earning a great, big Congratulations!

  3. Beautiful kids, Leighton, beautiful pictures, and I hope you said hi to Annamaria for me. Oh, and BEAUTIFUL STAR from PW -- not to mention a "stellar" review.

  4. Those beautiful kids, an open bottle O'Brian (with a Nero d'Avola kicker), a cardboard doppelganger, and all of it topped with that Publisher's Weekly review with a hydrogen fusion ball appended--man, your casting and props department have been working overtime this week.

    Please forward my heartiest congratulations to them.


  5. Leighton, what beautiful photos, superb locations and wonderful kids. I am surprised you could escape. ;-)

  6. We really tried to keep him. Fardou still cries herself to sleep every night that Grandpa isn't around to read her bedtime stories. We loved your stay so much, Dad!

  7. Lovely pictures - thank you for sharing!

    And to be honest I may envy you your grandchildren more than your wine ;)

  8. I was going to call you heartless for describing those wonderful wines, but clearly after all that eating of my heart out, it is I who is! Sigh. Welcome back. Enjoy some rest and peace. Stan

  9. Adorable kids, and I even got to learn something about wines. Just picked up a copy of Annamaria's book. Thanks to Murder is Everywhere, I really get to go far afield.