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Monday, September 29th 2008 : "Letter from America"
It's Sunday and day 3 of my US tour. I've fitted in so much though, that it feels as if I've been here for weeks. After a summer of rain in the UK, I flew into a New York that was damp and humid and waiting for a storm. Moses, my US agent, took me out to dinner and jet lag weary, I discussed books and politics as the clouds got darker and the first raindrops hit the pavement of 57th Street.
Friday was Port Washington, Long Island. Jessica the lovely librarian had organised a Shetland tea, with china teapots and pretty place settings, scones and cakes. The audience was much like the audience in a British library: polite. appreciative, interesting. We talked about the islands and murder and Dead End books set up a stall to sell. Afterwards, Lourdes, who's one of the most well-respected crime bloggers in the States, and I went out for dinner with my publicist Hector. Again, after a couple of beers in an Irish bar the discussion moved to politics. This is a different, less confident USA from the place I've visited on previous occasions. People ask themselves: 'How did we allow this to happen?'
My first Elderhostel event took place in a building just off Wall Street, and looking down at a half-completed building site I imagined the road haunted by panic-stricken bankers appearing out of the mist. In fact, the Elderhostel participants were welcoming, knowledgeable crime readers. After the programme, I made my way uptown on the slightly scary subway system to visit Partners and Crime in Greenwich Village to sign copies for stock, then back to my hotel. The air was oppressive and sticky, even in the evening when I went out to meet my friends, Fran and Norm. In the restaurant there was more politics, more dismay at the way the country is moving. They're liberals and see Obama as their only hope. 'He's inexperienced but I think he's smart enough to surround himself with good people' Norm said. Fran looked up from her oysters. 'Imagine McCain dying - he's old after all - and that woman being in charge!' She rolled her eyes to the ceiling.
Today seems to have been all trains and waiting in stations. I left New York through the Grand Union Station, ornate and magnificent. In New Canaan Connecticut, a picture book town of clapboard houses and tree lined streets, we did Brought to Book. Everything wonderfully organised by Cynde Lahey. Despite the awful weather people turned out and the format seemed to work as well as it always does. Now I'm on my way to Boston in a rattling train that's already late. We've just passed through Providence, Rhode Island. I won't be switching on my TV when I reach my hotel. It's all politics and I've had enough of that this weekend.
Posted by Ann at 08:08 PM GMT