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The Swedish Woman: ‘Please, Tatiana, show mercy!’

‘Please, Tatiana, show mercy!’

But Tatiana does not show mercy.  You can find out why in my 2016 Hotel Story, the sixth in the series.

If you have read any of the Hotel Stories, you will enjoy this one.  If you haven’t read any, The Swedish Woman is a great place to start.

How to enjoy The Swedish Woman;

  • You can read some of The Swedish Woman instantly via this free chunky excerpt;
  • You can scoop up all seven Hotel Stories, including The Swedish Woman, in one package in Hotel Stories: The Complete Collection;
  • If you can’t afford it or don’t like paying for stories, no problem: write a comment below and I’ll send you a free Word copy of the first short story in the series, “The Two Rooms“.  It would be great to hear from you.

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button).  Check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.

Why you’ll like The Swedish Woman

Who is the enigmatic Swedish woman?

 

It’s time to find out.  The Swedish Woman, the third short story in the unique “Hotel Stories” series, reveals the answer.  It’s the most entertaining story yet.  It has several outstanding twists and novelties.

One of the novelties is that for the first time (more…)

The Swedish Woman – Hotel Story No.3

In an hotel elevator awash with blood, a man lies murdered.  But who is the killer?

What is the role of the enigmatic Swedish woman, whose identity is shrouded in mystery?

In The Swedish Woman Ms N, the most brilliant, unpredictable and occasionally homicidal hotel manager in the world, must solve the crime before the country’s untainted-by-corruption-of-any-kind Minister of Justice, who happens to be one of the suspects, can solve it in his unique and not necessarily helpful way.

The Swedish Woman has been rated by some readers as the funniest Hotel Story so far.

(more…)

Preview: a new Hotel Story: The Swedish Woman

In an elevator awash with blood, a man lies murdered.  But who is the killer?  And what is the role of the enigmatic Swedish woman, whose identity is shrouded in mystery?

Find out here, soon.

After a year in the crafting, I shall publish soon my third in the series of short Hotel Stories.  

Its title is The Swedish Woman.

Hailed by early readers as maybe the funniest of the Hotel Stories so far, The Swedish Woman features a galaxy of extraordinary characters – from the 100% untainted-by-corruption-of-any-kind Minister of Justice and the charming but elderly Irish gentleman in search of female company who may or may not have only six months to live; through the brilliant, unpredictable and occasionally homicidal hotel manager Ms N and her beautiful but naive ally, Tatiana; to the mysterious Swedish woman herself.

Who is she, and what is she doing in the hotel?

By way of a taster, here is the first part of the story.  Enjoy, (more…)

Bali, 7/10. What’s wrong. One simple way to fix it

I was lucky enough this year to enjoy a holiday in Bali.  Fabulous.

But the island faces challenges.  Development is eating up the beauty which draws visitors.

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Rice field on Bali (Photo Robert Pimm)

Locals seek prosperity.  Visitors want somewhere to stay and amenities to enjoy.

The same tension tingles in tourist hotspots from Barcelona to Istanbul.  How do you prevent tourist development ruining what the tourists have come to see?

(more…)

Hotel Stories No.4 – “Britches” – now available!

You can now find the fourth in the series of “Hotel Stories”, Britches, published on Amazon as part of Seven Hotel Stories.

Britches features a rather attractive Scot in a kilt, an analysis of which (at the link) shows that although Tatiana may not have a great education, her intellectual skills are second to none.  Let’s get straight into the action with an excerpt from the start of the story.

 

Britches (Excerpt)

A short story by Robert Pimm

03.00

‘The music is too loud.’

‘I beg your pardon, sir?’

‘You are kidding me, right?’ The customer in the dressing gown peers at my name badge. ‘Tatiana.’

‘No, sir, of course I am not kidding you. But I cannot hear you too good.’

The man is narrowing his eyes. I think he is deciding whether it is worth being angry with someone so unimportant as me. (more…)

Hotel Story Number 4: “Britches” – Coming Soon part 2

My last blog promised that the fourth Hotel Story, Britches, would be coming soon.

I’m editing it this afternoon.

It’s good to re-read a story and enjoy it.  Here are two excerpts from Britches:

– As our narrator heroine Tatiana is manhandled through a crowded party in the Dionysus Bar of the hotel by an over-excited guest, she assesses the situation:

I try to relax and to focus on my task, which is to turn the music down, or even off.  As I am being dragged I examine the people I am being dragged past in case they can help me.  Most of the men have more white hair than the women, but their noses are not so sharp and their lips are less stretched. They are dressed in black suits with black or white open-necked shirts and some of them have what look like small white moustaches. But when I look closer I see that they have dabs of white powder under their nose as if they have cut themselves shaving.

It is as if there has been a bad-shaving massacre in the Basement Luxury Venue.

– Later, Tatiana recruits help from some men in kilts to tackle a problem; and we see her famous analytical skills in action:

If I am honest, I am thinking that the man with the hairy, shapely legs has already tonight had one or more drinks. But in a moment he has pulled three other men in skirts from the crowd of people who are watching the Long-Legged Lovely Lassies. All of this new group of men also have hairy, shapely legs. In fact, I am wondering whether this is because men with hairy, shapely legs are enjoying wearing a skirt more than men with legs which are not so hairy or shapely; or whether it is because wearing a skirt makes a man’s legs more hairy and shapely.

A talented woman, is Tatiana.  Watch this space for more news about Britches.

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, feel free to friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button).  Check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.

Disclaimer: fiction and journalism

I want to alert readers of this site to the distinction between the pages listed under “Journalism“, which are based on fact, and the pages listed under “Fiction“.

Anything listed under “Fiction” is a work of fiction.  None of the police officers, journalists, diplomats, politicians, military types, terrorists, assassins, hotel customers, waitresses, clowns, alligators, tycoons or any of the other characters who appears in the works in this category is in any way based on anyone I’ve ever met, heard of, or seen on TV.

The “Hotel Stories” are a work of fiction

For example, the “wonderful, feminist and dark” Hotel Stories do not depict an actual hotel, or a real hotel manager with occasional homicidal tendencies (read them now to learn how to kill someone with a white blouse, or with an iPhone in the hands of an innocent onlooker).

Nor do any of my works of fiction, whether novels or short stories, contain any information which I think might endanger the security of real people.  Indeed, I may lightly morph some descriptions of security procedures, government organisations or layouts of buildings to avoid compromising security.

I hope that’s clear.

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, feel free to friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button).  Check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.

Coming up soon… a new hotel story: Gents

I have terrific news for all you lovers of the ‘wonderful, feminist and dark’ hotel story series: the third episode will be out soon.  You’ve seen hotelier extraordinaire Ms N and her faithful colleague Tatiana solve intractable problems at a Michelin-starred luxury hotel in Eastern Europe in The Two Rooms; and at a shitbox (“I am sorry to use this kind of vocabulary, but in the hotel industry this is the correct professional term”) somewhere in the back of beyond in The White Blouse.  But what will happen when Tatiana and Ms N coincide at a convention in Florida where nearly all the other delegates are men? Will the pushiest, smuggest and most arrogant alpha male in Ms N’s hotel chain get the job she has set her heart on?  Or can Ms N and Tatiana cook something up?

Read Gents, coming soon to this space, and find out how Ms N, the world’s most brilliant hotelier, solves the hardest problems on earth in her own extraordinary yet subtle way – always with the help of Tatiana.

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P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, feel free to friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button).  Check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.

Hotel Stories: The Two Rooms: Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from the second of the “Hotel Stories” series, The Two Rooms.  The Hotel Stories series takes a wry look at the sex, humour and power plays beneath the surface of modern hotel life.  The series has been described by one reviewer as “Wonderful, feminist and dark.  Not three words that often go together.”

If you like this excerpt, you can buy the whole story as a Kindle download on Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.de or other Amazon sites.  Or check out Seven Hotel Stories – the complete collection.

* * *

THE TWO ROOMS (Excerpt)

A short story by Robert Pimm

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‘I’m not moving.  That’s final.’

Mr Burke is a tall, dark-haired man in a designer denim jacket with subtle stubble and a deep, melodious voice.  He’s achingly good-looking and he knows it.

(more…)

A flaming end to Carnival and winter’s woes

By Robert Pimm, Globe Correspondent

Boston Globe, February 5 2006

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Carnival crowds are colourful and well-wrapped – Photo RP

COLOGNE, Germany — At midnight the first figure is dragged out. It’s a man in blue overalls, his glistening pink features frozen in surprise.

”There he is!” someone shouts. ”Kill him!”

Four men haul the figure onto their shoulders and begin pushing through the crowd to a background of ominous drumming. Ahead, a stage has been set for a trial: The judge waits in a top hat, his face a mask of white, a tear dripping from one eye. An incinerator stands ready. A macabre miscarriage of justice seems to loom.

But wait. The drummers are dressed as chickens. The crowd is thick with clowns in orange wigs. And when the victim’s shoes fall off, we see his feet are made of straw. The good news is, no people will be burned tonight. The bad news is, things are not looking rosy for our straw friend. Welcome to the Nubbelverbrennung (burning of the Nubbel), the last, wild night of the Cologne Carnival.

Carnival in Germany has its origins in pagan rituals to drive out the winter. Over the intervening 2,000 years, things have become less secular, and more organized. Carnival has come to represent a final burst of excess before Lent, which this year begins March 1.

(more…)

New Zealand at a crossroads

By Robert Pimm, Globe Correspondent

Boston Globe, November 7 2004

WANAKA, New Zealand — Lewis Verduyn gestures with an oar. “To pick tea from a tea tree,” he says, “take the older growth, not the tips. You don’t want to damage the bush.”

We fan out across the riverbank and gingerly begin to gather the dark green leaves. Verduyn moors the raft, then heats river water in his Volcano, a hollow flask filled with burning twigs. For a few blissful moments, the only sounds are the crackle of the fire and the rushing of the great, green, glacier-fueled Upper Clutha River.

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Much of New Zealand remains spectacular – here near Mt Cook (Photo: Robert Pimm)

We hear the jet-boat before we see it. A growl swells to a roar as the yellow and purple monster bursts around a bend in the river. We stare as the boat flashes past. How can they see anything at that speed? Then we’re alone again.

My children, Owen, 11, and Anna, 9, watch Verduyn, a wiry outdoor type with a wry sense of humor, as he whirls a pail of tea around his head.

“It must be seven times, for flavor,” he says. “We have a strainer, because even in the wilderness, you can still be sophisticated.”

We savor the refreshing brew, and our idyll is restored. Almost. Because if Verduyn and his bittersweet tea show why New Zealand is a must-see for ecotourists, that jet-boat is a symbol of how everything could turn sour.

Tourism in New Zealand is booming. In the last six years, international visitor numbers have risen 41 percent. But that success poses challenges for a country whose unique selling proposition in the global tourism market is spectacular, unspoiled nature. We found New Zealand’s outdoor activities and wildlife outstanding, but under pressure.

(more…)

Rattle and roll to the Alps

Night trains are great for kids, says Robert Pimm.  Adults may find them a little less glamorous

Financial Times, August 20 2005

It’s awkward, leaving your children unattended in a night train compartment after lights-out. But sometimes you have no choice. I’m gone only a few moments. When I return, a man is there, taking off his coat. The light is blazing.

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Lech, Austria – Photo Robert Pimm

“Sorry,” I say, “we’ve booked this whole compartment.”

“No.” The man and his suitcases seem to fill the space between the bunks. “I am here too. Look. Here is my ticket.”

(more…)

ALL THE RAGE IN LECH, AUSTRIA

By Robert Pimm

Financial Times Magazine, March 19 2005

Going up is as good as going down on the slopes this year, as skiers warm to the pleasures of the world’s first heated chair-lifts

It’s -20 deg C and the wind is howling when I first feel the heat. So do my fellow passengers.

“Mmm,” says Maya from Leipzig. “That’s pure pleasure.”

“Comfort,” says her friend, Erika.

“All we need now is coffee and cakes,” says Ilse from the Black Forest.

Silence falls on the chair-lift as dry heat warms our nether regions, rising through our ski suits from the padded seats beneath us.

You don’t have to be too strident a critic of consumerism to view some innovations with scepticism. Nowhere is this truer than on the pistes, where new skis, gadgets and must-have accessories appear more regularly than (more…)

Sole mates

 They may be pricey, but Robert Pimm finds some boots were just made for skiing.

Financial Times, October 23 2004

In the basement of Sporthaus Strolz, a man and a woman stand at a bar in a state of immobility, their feet are clamped into ski-boots filled with slow-setting liquid foam.

“How much longer will this take?” the man growls at a waiter.

“About ten minutes longer.”

“Bring me another schnapps.”

The family-owned firm of Strolz, based in the Austrian resort of Lech, is famed for its custom-made ski boots.  But are they’re also known for a hefty price-tag and a foaming process for which you have to stand still for 30-60 minutes.

(more…)

A tale of two all-in resorts

By Robert Pimm

Financial Times, December 12 2003

Anna and Owen think Mini Club Med is brilliant.

“I don’t think anyone in the world could be busier than we were today,” says Anna, aged eight. “But the 14 July party was useless. They kept playing all these French songs, we had to guess the title. We didn’t know any of them.” Owen, aged 10, adds: “Then they played the first verse, and you had to sing the rest. In French.”

I ask what those children did who don’t speak French.

“They left,” he says.

Cleopatra arrives at the Club Med 14 July pageant – Photo RP

Two holidays: one French, one German, both all-inclusive, both child-friendly – and this summer our (very British) family planned to test national stereotypes to destruction by taking both. (more…)

Journalism index

Lundylong

This is a selection of my journalism.  Because most of my FT articles from 2003-2006 are now archived, I have reproduced them here. For other newspapers, there are still some live links.  NB the titles were inserted by the sub-editors.

– 1 August 2003, Financial Times, “Behind every great woman…” (the challenges of being a male partner of a famous or successful woman)

– 8 August 2003, Financial Times, “Where the wall came down” (a walk around the Berlin Wall)

– 6 September 2003, Financial Times, “Island with well-hidden treasures” (Lundy Island)

– 13 December 2003, Financial Times, “A tale of two all-in resorts” (German vs French holiday resorts)

– 7 February 2004, Financial Times, “Rag’n’bones to riches” (birthday of Mary, an 80 year-old from Arsenal)

– 27 March 2004, Financial Times, “Austrian idyll far from the well-worn pistes” (Lech)

– 27 March 2004, Financial Times, “When dinner becomes the last supper” (the joys of German waiters)

– 30 April 2004, Financial Times, “Enough Buddhas for today” (Bangkok)

– 10 July 2004, Financial Times, “We’ll soon all beg to fly business” (how airlines plan to make us upgrade)

– 17 July 2004, Die Welt, “Im Dienst Ihrer Majestät” (women’s diplomatic careers)

– 31 August 2004, Financial Times, “Balmy breezes and beach bars in Berlin

– 23 October 2004, Financial Times, “Where even experts fear to tread” (guided ski-ing in Austria)

– 23 October 2004, Financial Times, “Sole mates” (Strolz ski boots)

– 7 November 2004, Boston Globe, “New Zealand at a crossroads” (NZ tourism)

– 20 November 2004, Financial Times, “The Penguin’s Distressed. We’d Better Go” (NZ eco-tourism)

– 29 January 2005, Financial Times, “The Joy of Roaming the English Countryside” (long-distance footpaths)

– 29 January 2005, Financial Times Magazine, “All the Rage in Berlin” (Little Traffic Light Men)

– 19 February 2005, Financial Times, “From Tears to Triumph” (Lech ski school)

– 19 March 2005, Financial Times Magazine, “All the Rage in Lech, Austria” (heated ski lift seats)

– 20 August 2005, Financial Times, “Rattle and Roll to the Alps” (night ski-trains)

– 21 January 2006, Financial Times, “Charmed By the No-Frills Alternative” (basic Austrian country hotels)

– 5 February 2006, Boston Globe, “A flaming end to Carnival and winter’s woes” (Cologne Carnival)

– 24 April 2006, Financial Times, “When Tourist Reinvention Spins Out of Control” (the over-development of Barcelona)

– 25 June 2006, Boston Globe, “A Temple to Faith, Time and Resolve” (Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia)

– 8 July 2006, Financial Times, “Nice Buildings, Shame About the Events” (Can hosting sporting events give you good PR?)

– 3 September 2006, Boston Globe, “When hush, crowds descend” (Vienna Zentralfriedhof)

– 2 September 2007, Boston Globe, “History in the Tropics” (St Helena)

 

StH long
Anyone who can identify the buildings in both pix on this page – let me know.  

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