I was put up as a dinner date by the German crime-writing website Krimi Couch – they held a national competition centred around the promotion of the hardback launch of Looking Good Dead (Stirb Schon) in Germany this autumn, and the luck (or unlucky, depending how you look at it…) winner got to have a dinner-date with me. (Second prize was dinner with me twice, third prize, dinner with me three times…)
So, a few weeks ago I was told a winner had been declared, a restaurant in Munich had been booked, so would I kindly shave, put on my favourite cologne (currently Comme des Garcons, since this blog is meant to be informative!!), some smart clothes, get on a plan and haul ass to Munich’s Literaturhouse Restaurant for an 8pm rendezvous with She- Who- Wanted- To- Meet- Me – who turned out to be She- Who- Wanted- To- Meet- Me rather a lot as she was going to drive 200 miles for this dinner!
Oh dear, I thought, on hearing this news. Images of Fatal Attraction sprang instantly to mind. A German bunny-boiler, driving two hundred miles with a dagger beside her and its glint in her eyes… And then, as if it could not get any worse, it suddenly got a whole lot worse…
Three urgent messages beeped at me as I stepped off the plane in Munch. The first was from my German editor, the amazing Andrea Diederichs of Scherz, asking me to call her urgently. The second message was asking me to call her even more urgently. The third sounded virtually like an all-ports alert emergency. I called her. There was a big problem, Andrea told me. Apparently the woman had a very jealous husband, who had decided to book a separate table in the same restaurant so that he could keep an eye on us. Oh, and by the way, Andrea informed me, he is a 300 pound gorilla of a truck driver.
So, great, well then the evening was shaping up nicely, I thought. If she didn’t get me with the knife, he would rip my head off with his bare hands. I decided to go easy on the Comme des Garcons, to make it easier for the tracker dogs to find my buried remains… Then my ever vigilant editor rang with another suggestion. Perhaps I should take an escort along?
Good plan, I thought. Except that the only SAS squaddie I know was currently busy in Iraq. So I decided on a rather hastily devised Plan B. I would take a male friend with me, Hans Jurgen Stockerl (the Greatest Living German Actor) with whom I do all my readings on tour in Germany and he would join the husband and broker the peace! Then before reaching the restaurant we decided on Plan C. We would all sit together. When I saw the husband, with whom I could instantly see I would come a very bad second in any fight, I realized that this had definitely been a Very Good Decision!!!
In the event we did all sit together and we had a delightful evening. Far from being a bolshy man, Stephan Koenig, a tanker driver, turned out as so very Germans do, to be quite delightful. He spoke fluent English and, as also is the case so often in Germany, he was way better read than many British university graduates. Anja too was equally charming – and not even the gleam of a dagger within sight…
Three might be a crowd – but hey, as they say, there’s safety in numbers!
Stephan, Anja and Peter