I’m in the lobby of a breathtaking luxury hotel.
All around, top hotel professionals – general managers, directors of sales and marketing, a recruitment guru – have gathered for the birthday of another top hotel professional.
‘We’ve heard about your Hotel Stories,’ says one. ‘They sound fabulous – spicy, mysterious, strong women, deaths – are they based on real life?’
‘Absolutely not,’ I say. ‘They spring fully-formed from my imagination. Especially Ms N, the world’s most brilliant, unpredictable and occasionally homicidal hotel manager and her beautiful but naive ally, Tatiana. But tell me. Has anything weird or remarkable happened in any of your hotels recently?’
‘Weird or remarkable barely suffices to describe what happened at my hotel in London last week,’ says another top hotel professional. ‘Let me tell you the story.’
You should read the Hotel Stories for six reasons.
Your first reason is The Two Rooms. Ingredients are an obnoxious male guest; a dodgy Prime Minister on a moral crusade; a high-class call-girl; some cigar-smoking Russian ice-hockey fans; an angry Japanese sushi chef; and a macabre twist. Is it my favourite? Perhaps it is.
Your second reason is The White Blouse, set in a hotel with ugly problems including corruption, abuse of women and a guest with unpleasant sexual proclivities. The White Blouse has a couple of scenes which are not for the squeamish. Actually, all of the Hotel Stories are intended for adult readers, although none is erotic or explicit.
Your third reason is Gents, an adventure set in sunny Florida. It involves a congress of hoteliers; a dodgy night-club; alligators; corporate in-fighting; and an ambitious male colleague who does not respect Ms N. This is, of course, a mistake.
Your fourth reason is Britches, which records how Ms N and Tatiana first met. Tatiana and Ms N sort out the hotel owner from hell using a Combined Burns Night and St Patrick’s Day Ball (they exist! I’ve been to one); the President of China; a whisky-tasting; a giant cake; and something Tatiana finds under a handsome Scotsman’s kilt.
Your fifth reason is Too Cool to be Corporate. You can find out why, at the Caravanserai Ultra Platinum – “the coolest and most ecological as well as the most luxurious hotel on earth”, Tatiana says “every paradise contains a serpent”; how Ms N solves a problem no-one else can identify; and how environmental claptrap can sell hotel rooms.
Your sixth reason is The Swedish Woman. In an elevator awash with blood, a man lies dead. Can Ms N and Tatiana identify the murderer before the 100% untainted-by-corruption-of-any-kind Minister of Justice, who is present in the lobby, can summon the police? A whodunnit thriller.
You can read the Hotel Stories
- via The Hotel Stories: The Complete Collection at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (this is by far the best value);
- by buying individual stories – see links below. Actually, you’d be mad to buy the stories individually as the complete collection is so much cheaper.
You can let me know what you think via the Comments sections; by contacting me; or, ideally, by a review on Amazon.
You can find out about other writing on this site, at your site guide.