Blog Archives

“What an esteemed company of players” introducing Umm Kulthum

Up until writing my novel, The Merry Millionaire, I was totally unaware that, for almost fifty years, the entire Middle East had an ongoing love affair with the international singing sensation Umm Kulthum.

From humble beginnings as the daughter of a Nile Delta Imam, she rose to become the greatest Arab singer there has ever been,

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“What an esteemed company of players” introducing Charles Baehler, hotel owner and entrepreneur.

charles baehler 2Had you decided to winter in Egypt in the 1930’s it would have stayed at the best hotel, either in Cairo, Luxor or Aswan, and it would have been difficult not to encounter the name of Charles Baehler since he owned three of the most popular, prestigious and luxurious hotels in Egypt.

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‘Le Dancing Dubois’

After a day sightseeing, Ron and Mervyn, characters in The Merry Millionaire, hear about a notorious nightclub in the old town, and decide to give it a go, although Ron thinks it could be a bit too gay for the likes of him, seeing he is close to his forty seventh birthday. Known as ‘Les Dancing Dubois,’ apparently it is popular with young French and German sailors, which certainly has whetted our pair’s appetite.

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Lee Miller: out spoken woman of her time

Ronald Fry and Mervyn Watson, our main protagonists in my jolly jaunt, The Merry Millionaire, have a remarkable habit of being exactly at the right place at the right time. Knowing their liking for pre dinner tipples, they happen to be present at an auspicious moment which has since gone down in the annals of hotel legend. The night the male bastion of the Long Bar at Cairo’s Shepheard’s Hotel is invaded by two females for the first and only time in its history.

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