Tuesday, December 6, 2011

because life gets in the way...

Because life gets in the way sometimes ie. emergency dental surgery I've missed writing a blog post so apologize and am
posting my November December occasional newsletter as is...
Bonjour Everyone,
I love Paris in November - the afternoon light, orange brown leaves crackling underfoot, the busy chatter of Zouzou, my friend Anne’s daughter - almost six! - back in school after the Toussaint holiday. Also, the November 11 memorial remembrances for the fallen of the Grande Guerre, the first world war - which, as the head of the Ancien combattants, said in the ceremony of the Mairie of the 11th arrondissement, ‘touched every family in France - ‘a son, a husband, uncle, brother, father who never returned or limped back’. He dedicated his talk to the widows, the sisters, the mothers and the impact this has left on generations. The last French surviving soldier died a few years ago but this honor for tradition touched me - hearing the local lycéé children sing the la Marseilleise left a lump in my heart.
In Paris fashion wise it’s le slouch bag - I favor the rich dark chocolate leather slouch by Longchamps but even at le Duty Free it’s waaaay over my budget. Footwise it’s boots, boots, and more boots of course - ankle high with a heel or flat hitting below the knee or for the more Bobo - I stayed on Canal Saint Martin heart of Bobo land cornered by trendy Chez Prune and La Marine bistro on the other (try their version of le gar - a codlike fish drizzled with herbs) it’s the low rise fluff boot comfy and warm for Canal walks.
The long black wool coat - a staple - or it’s shorter fitted version with a belt, a bit 70’s and a la mode. Of course, le Trench if the sun’s out. The weather cooperated - it only rained once unbelievable for November - and only a few days I needed the long down coat - mostly blue sky and sun alternating with la Grisaille, that grey blue fog mist in Paris.

Exhibitions - the Edward Munch at Beauborg but we were disappointed not to see the Scream since it was stolen in Copenhagen. The Prefecture Police museum highlighting the secret Police dossiers on the Russians in Paris - from Trotsky to Chagall to Picasso and his Russian Ballerina wife to Nureyev. Missing was Lenin who lived in Paris three years - but I had no chance to ask the curator why.
Foodwise - Gilles took me to le Baratin, just written up in le Monde, and praised by the current enfant terrible chef a Basque guy who’s resto le Dauphin is the place. Gilles ate le nez, pork nose, yes really, then the neck. His verdict - bon but not magnifique. Me a squash soup and cheese but nothing to rave about.
In the markets - big orange persimmons, pomegranates, oysters, oysters, oysters for tis the season. We ate platefuls

at le Baron Rouge, a wine bar, near the Aligre market...jammed and full of Sunday wine drinkers, oysters and convivial talk with tout le monde. No snobs here.
Bookwise - the most obscure book event I ever attended - on the winding steps aside the Gare de l’Est was in a socialist bookstore. Naftali, the 80+ Resistant friend invited me for a French communists' take on East Germany during the 70’s before the Wall came down. The author didn’t show and his publisher graciously appeared and spoke for forty minutes. Blame my jet lag but I nodded out - a bit dry material as Naftali told me later after he’d read the book- but after Pierre Olivier ‘my videographer’ in Paris - and I shot scenes for a short youtube about my next book, MURDER AT THE LANTERNE ROUGEe Pierre Olivier teased me the next day saying that the CIA noted these things and I’d be on a list somewhere. But later that week at le Bellevilleoise, the factory turned centre de culture, things buzzed with several readings - poetry, memoir - jammed and in the cafe’s carved inside.
I spoke with a literature class on crime fiction at a ‘Grands Ecoles’ the Ecole Centrale de Paris, the most prestigious engineering school after the Polytechnic. The campus is outside Paris bordering the gardens and water surrounding the grounds and chateau of Sceaux...gorgeous. Call me happily surprised to see so many young woman in engineering.

Bookwise - research for Aimée’s next investigation took me under St. Anne’s, the 17th century psychiatric hospital to visit the quarries below and the old bomb shelter used by staff during the Occupation. Supposedly the doctors hid Jewish families there during the war. But more on that later.

Murder at the Lanterne Rouge, Aimée’s 12th - hard to believe - Investigation comes out in March 2012. I’m excited for the book tour and hope you keep checking my website or FB to see if I’ll be near you. Pierre Olivier, who’s won short film awards in Europe, video’d our walk where the book is set in the Northern edge of the Marais near Arts et Metiers. Look for that and I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, my jet lag is subsiding and I’m working on the next manuscript.
Almost forgot to say I’ve been nominated for a medal - the Medaille de Paris - given by the Mayor of Paris to those who further the ‘cause’ of the City of Light - not sure what that means - but the ceremony might take place next May at the Hotel de Ville! Much as I’m gratified and astounded, I’d prefer the Mayor just to give me a key to Paris :) Aimée needs it to open all those forbidden doors.

Hope you keep checking in and on FB and Twitter - we’re planning a contest with the next book! Meanwhile if you’re in any of these areas I’d love to see you;
Dec 14 Village Books in Bellingham, WA with Martin Limon
Jan 25 Dallas, TX - ALA - the American Library Association conference on Mystery day
Jan 28 Cerritos Library in LA with SoCal mystery luminaries
Feb 14 SF Writers Conference in SF

Warm wishes to you and yours and hoping you enjoy wonderful books in the holidays!


  1. For this armchair traveller, you bring Paris alive. Beautiful pictures today. And I'm looking forward to your next book.

  2. thank you lil! the pain in the molar now finally subsiding so I can semi-function and EAT!

  3. Your writing always take me to the best places. Glad I missed the trip to the dentist, though. Be well, and congratulations on the new book and medal nomination!