Last night saw the publication of Teresa Waugh’s thriller, A Long Hot Unholy Summer, at Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street.
Tout Londres were assembled to celebrate the event and to pay tribute to the author.
Here is what I said in my short address to a jolly gathering of friends and acquaintances.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me first welcome Teresa Waugh with open arms for becoming a Quartet author.
On a sad note, however, I am aware that Teresa recently lost her partner, Richard, for which I offer my condolences. We are very sorry that he is not here to be able to share this occasion with us, for I’m sure he would have been thrilled and proud.
The Waugh family and Quartet have a long history which must now span over a period of three decades when Bron first wrote to me about the possibility of employing his daughter, Sophia, a university graduate, whom he described as clever and beautiful.
How could I have resisted this charming request by a father who was proud of his daughter, and was willing to bat for her in every way possible?
Sophia became the first member of the Waugh family who graced the Quartet coterie of young women, later to become great achievers and a real credit to the literary ensemble of London society.
Then Bron became editor of the Literary Review, a magazine I owned for many years, and subsequently the inspiration behind the Academy Club which gave all of us a refuge from the competitive edge of the world outside and where serenity and raucousness intermingled in a bizarre and enjoyable manner unparalleled at the time.
During all this period Bron became my idol and best friend whose memory will remain with me until the day I too will travel to the next world hoping to encounter once again friends I have missed for so long.
In the meantime, Quartet is still thriving with a new generation of the Waugh family. Beatrice, one of Sophia’s daughters, is now carrying the flag of continuity – not only following in her mother’s footsteps by working here, but opting to marry the enterprising Gavin who runs operations at 27 Goodge Street. Their union reinforces the view that Quartet and the Waugh family have become indispensable to one another.
And to crown it all, the formidable Teresa has now given Quartet the full accolade by granting us the privilege of publishing her latest book, A Long Hot Unholy Summer.
Isabelle, a young girl on holiday with her family in France, disappears with a man she meets online – unaware of his troubled past and twisted sexual nature. Strange coincidences link an eighteenth-century archbishop to the present with the suggestion that, shaped by time and circumstance, we are all equally guilty or equally innocent…
As it’s a thriller I’ll stop there…
Suffice it to say that the best way to celebrate this occasion is to ensure that every member of this illustrious gathering buys a copy of her book – and better still for those who can afford to splash out, to acquire more than one copy to give to friends and relations over the Christmas period.
Let’s hope Teresa will go home in great spirits as a consequence of your appreciation and generosity, so please don’t let me down.
The more copies you buy the more joy we all feel. The publisher will be particularly happy, so I’m sure will the bookshop.