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People have asked if my Berlin Thriller Blood Summit is suitable for reading groups or book clubs.
Blood Summit is ideal for reading groups and book clubs. This intelligent thriller appeals to a wide range of audiences (see reviews on Amazon) and contains a host of controversy and material for discussion. Here are some questions you can use for discussion in a reading group or book club.
One publisher rejected “Blood Summit” because they said Helen, a female action hero, was insufficiently feminine or “too much like a man”. Do you agree? Is Helen lacking in feminine qualities? Would it matter if she did?
How would the plot develop differently if Helen was a man? Which elements of the story, if any, would be less compelling or make less sense?
Helen is furious that her husband refuses to leave London and come with her to Berlin. How would life with Nigel fit in with her lifestyle in Germany? Are they sufficiently compatible to live together?
How would you feel about living with Helen? Or with Nigel? If you had to be stranded on a desert island with one or the other, which would you choose?
Nigel and Helen are competitive with each other. He is a top journalist. She aspires to be a top diplomat. Are they too competitive? Is competition in a relationship positive, or negative? Helen is repulsed by the fact that Nigel is too controlling, and does not listen. Are these typical male behaviours, or exceptions?
Nigel phones Helen before the Children’s Summit starts, in the hope that she will give him confidential information he can use in a story. Is it reasonable for him to ask her in this way? Should she give her husband such information, if doing so will not threaten lives, in the public interest? (more…)
Many years ago I worked alongside a young woman who, long before in another city, had had a relationship with a man who now worked in the building we were in. Whenever she spoke of him, her voice quavered and her eyes brimmed with tears. She was sure he was in love with her, but was dismayed that he showed no interest. She longed for him, but had not spoken to him for years. At certain times of day, when he might be due to leave work, she would go to the window and gaze out, hoping to catch a glimpse of him in the distance.
The cover of my (borrowed) copy of Prep
I thought of that colleague when I read “Prep” by Curtis Sittenfeld, published in 2005. The book follows a 14 year-old girl, Lee Fiora, who leaves her family home in Indiana to take up a scholarship at Ault, an elite boarding school on the US East Coast. Through her four years at the school, she obsesses about her relationships and develops a crush on a boy.
What a crush. (more…)
‘How many people are you expecting at your reading?’
‘Well, it’s impossible to know. Maybe five, maybe 20.’
‘But how many people will you will be happy with?’
‘Well, anything over three.’
We’re on our way to my reading from my Berlin thriller Blood Summit at the excellent English language bookshop Shakespeare & Company at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna. Not only is it a Friday night, but the World Cup has started: Portugal vs Spain, no less. I am managing my expectations appropriately.
We gather in the bookshop. It is a beautiful place, in the heart of Vienna’s old town. Outside, a cobbled street. Inside, books reach to the ceiling: a temple of imagination, stories and ideas. If you have never visited Shakespeare & Co, go today or, at the latest, next weekend. They are open until 9 p.m. six days a week.
People keep coming. By the time I start the reading, at 1930, the shop is already crammed – I count 19 people. More keep arriving, slipping in cunningly through a hitherto unsuspected back door.
A wonderful place for a book-reading – Shakespeare & Co
What does reclusive author Robert Pimm look like in the flesh?
You can find out on Friday 15 June at the wonderful Shakespeare & Co bookshop at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna.
I will be reading from my new Berlin thriller “Blood Summit” (“a rip-roaring romp of a thriller” – Sir Christopher Mallaby). Entry is free and copies of the book will be on sale.
Come along – and bring a friend!
For a preview, see the video below, from my March 16 reading at Cafe Korb, also in Vienna.
In fact, you can buy “Blood Summit” in Shakespeare & Co any time: (more…)
Someone pointed out recently that I hadn’t written about the Hotel Stories for some time.
In fact, I recently rebranded The Hotel Stories – Complete Collection as Seven Hotel Stories. My goal was to remind readers how many stories now exist in a single, novel-length volume.
All the stories feature the world’s most brilliant, unpredictable and occasionally homicidal hotel manager, Ms N; her beautiful but naive ally, Tatiana; and Ms N’s unique methods of solving problems.
The first story, Britches, shows how Ms N and Tatiana first met; and how they sorted out the hotel owner from hell using a Combined Burns Night and St Patrick’s Day Ball (they exist – I have been to one); the President of China; and something Tatiana found under a handsome Scotsman’s kilt.
The second Hotel Story is The Two Rooms. It features an obnoxious guest; a hypocritical Prime Minister on a moral crusade; some Russian ice-hockey fans; an angry Japanese sushi chef; and a startling twist. Is it my favourite? Perhaps it is.
Franz Schubert steps to one side.
The lights go down.
Robert Pimm looks up at the packed crowd.
‘My name is Robert Pimm,’ he says. ‘First time I’ve said that.’
For those of you who were kind enough to attend my reading from my new Berlin thriller Blood Summit at the Cafe Korb in Vienna on 16 March, introduced by remarkable artistic director Franz Schubert (“this name is not a joke”), thank you.
The cool video of my reading from Blood Summit above was produced by the excellent Sibylle Trost in Berlin – thanks, Sibylle!
I was delighted to receive a good deal of positive feedback on 16 March, as well as news the next day that brilliant English language bookshop Shakespeare & Company at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna had run out of copies of Blood Summit.
They have since renewed their supplies.
Blood Summit on the shelves at Shakespeare & Company in Vienna
For those of you who were not at the reading on 16 March, or who would like another splash of Blood Summit, I have good news. I will be doing another reading at 1930 on 15 June, at Shakespeare & Company. I am most grateful to them for providing a venue.
Put it in your diary now. Let me know if you have any questions about how to attend. If you don’t live in Vienna, maybe this is the excuse you have been waiting for to book that lovely weekend in the beautiful Viennese capital, with entertainment on Friday night already fixed up.
If you would like to buy or read Blood Summit, click here.
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Have you ever wondered what Robert Pimm looks like in person?
Now you can find out.
I will be performing my first public reading at 19.30 on 16 March at the Cafe Korb, Brandstätte 9, in the First District of Vienna. Details are at the Cafe Korb Facebook page.
The Cafe Korb is a fine cafe, as I have reviewed separately. Its glories include an Art Lounge – click on the link for a 360-degree view. The cultural programme is eclectic and sublime – upcoming events range from “Who’s Afraid of the Jewish Mother?”, through the Korb’s famous Philosophical Evenings, to a performance by US jazz, blues and soul singer Margaret Carter.
It is in this splendid space that I shall be reading excerpts from my thriller Blood Summit – a world premiere.
The Art Lounge of Cafe Korb – worth a zoom, or a visit
The Art Lounge is not fantastically large and I am hoping it will be pretty packed. Entry is free, and I will answer questions after the reading. I look forward to seeing you there.