Blog Archives

“What an esteemed company of players” introducing Adrian ‘King’ Cole

Since I have populated my novels, The Merry Millionaire, and its sequel, Pomp and Circumstance with real life characters, whom my protagonists, Ronald Fry and Mervyn Watson, might easily have met along the way, let me introduce to you, Australian Pilot Officer, Adrian Cole, affectionately nicknamed, ‘King.’ I am proud to have included this brave man into my story, because he continued on to have an illustrious career in the Royal Australian Air Force, too long, I’m afraid to recount here, but well documented in the Wikipedia article.

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“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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“What an esteemed company of players!” Meet Count Laszlo Almasy.

Count Laszlo Almasy a character who appears in my novel ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ and interestingly has become the main player in an iconic novel and subsequently a popular movie.

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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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Freddy Farouk puts in an appearance.

Having had the briefest of encounters with Egyptian Royalty towards the end of my novel ‘The Merry Millionaire,’ by sheer coincidence, on Saturday 27th February, 1937, my principle characters, Ron and Mervyn, in the sequel, namely, ‘Pomp and Circumstance,’ happen to share their return voyage from Egypt on the ‘Viceroy of India’ with young King Farouk.

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RMS The Viceroy of India: silent star of The Merry Millionaire.

The intention of this simple post is to give you just the merest glimpse of the luxury afforded Ron and Mervyn once they boarded RMS Viceroy of India, that winters day back in January 1937.

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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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Ron and Mervyn, here and now.

Putting your novel in time and place: Had it not been for the E-resources of the State Library of New South Wales, my latest novel, The Merry Millionaire would hardly possess the depth of historical accuracy that it does.Ronald Fry, my principle character and protagonist in the story finds his day entirely incomplete should he fail to open the pages of The Times at least once. As a result, since the majority of this gay, rollicking travel adventure takes place on luxury ocean liners, sumptuous Egyptian express trains and opulent oriental hotels, the opportunity to find a current copy is most difficult and highly unlikely. Consequently, when Ron manages to get his hands on a Times, be it two days or even a week old, he hungrily pours over it like a schoolboy devouring The Hotspur weekly.

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