Hotel du Barry
When I start writing a story or a novel I usually begin with a single image and in this case it came from reading a non-fiction description of busy, impoverished mothers in the 1930’s – somewhere hot and humid in America – pegging their youngest babies onto the clothesline. It kept them out of harm’s way and let them wriggle around freely, enjoying the occasional cool breeze wafting over the landscape.
Perched on a bar stool later that night – drinking vodka with a lovesick male buddy who was hell bent on staying liquored up the whole weekend – my mind wandered. And an image came to me of a plump, chortling baby being surreptitiously pegged to the clothesline of a luxury hotel. And with only one ear on the tragic tale of woe being told, I found myself grinning somewhat inappropriately.
At that stage, I couldn’t see who was doing the pegging but the image stayed with me, along with the insight that women do the darndest things when they’re pushed to extremes by their wayward lovers.
In the days that followed I created London’s Hotel du Barry:
At night it was floodlit and fiery; a flamboyant mishmash of Italianate and Venetian architecture, with a few quirky Renaissance and classic Greek elements added on. As a wedding cake, it was an architectural masterpiece of reckless proportions.
And from these beginnings came the devious but charming characters who lived and worked at the hotel and the strange, sinister and unpredictable events that eventuate.
I do hope the Hotel du Barry makes you smile. Martinis will be flung in faces, reputations savaged and there will be murder, deception and mayhem. You’re in for a wild trip but rest assured you are in capable hands. Just stay on your toes and do not get caught peeking through keyholes. For if you do, the hotel dick, Jim Blade will have to extract your confession and as you will discover, he’s never half assed about anything.
Many of the Hotel du Barry clientele stay from months or sometimes years. And who knows? Like many guests, you may never want to leave.
The image of gargoyles (above) is from the cover of Hotel du Barry designed and illustrated by Hazel Lam, Harper Collins Design Studio. Cover images by shutterstock.com
London’s luxurious HOTEL DU BARRY has been left unscathed by World War 1 and the party has just begun: tainted love, murderous desires and gin. It’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL with a dash of Gatsby.
When a laughing baby is found amongst the Hotel du Barry’s billowing sheets, tucked up in an expensive pair of ladies’ bloomers and neatly pegged to the laundry line, the hotel staff resolve to keep the child.
The hotel’s owner, Daniel du Barry, still mourning the loss of his lover in an automobile accident, adopts the little girl, names her after his favourite champagne and seeks consolation in fatherhood. Cat du Barry grows up beloved by both hotel staff and guests, equally at home in the ninth floor premium suite as she is in the labyrinth below stairs.
Years later when Daniel du Barry dies in sinister circumstances, Cat determines to solve the mystery with the assistance of her extended hotel family.
From hotel detective to roguish Irish gigolo, from compassionate housekeeper to foxy chamber maid, each will play their wicked part in this novel that will charm, amuse and delight.
ISBN 10: 1460751434
Imprint: HarperCollins – AU
On Sale: 25/01/2016
List Price: 27.99 AUD
BISAC1: Fiction & related items / General
Purchase Online: http://www.harpercollins.com.au/9781460751435/hotel-du-barry
Hotel du Barry is also available as an eBook, audio and large print.
Bolinda Audio versions – complete and unabridged & narrated by actress Willow Nash.
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