‘Oh darling don’t bore the good people. Pass the wine would you. I got the idea for the plot whilst on my travels in the Far East you know.’ The eminent author Ferdinand du Vall waved his hand dismissively at his wife. The other diners were soaking up every word as if trying to gain some insight into the creative talent of this man who was widely regarded to be the best writer of his generation. His wife took another long drink and then began to pull at an invisible hangnail. Surrounded by the splendour of the night she looked out of place, her dingy day dress in sharp contrast with the elegant designer gowns worn by other guests.
Someone tapped at a glass with a fork and silence descended on the room as the sense of anticipation rose.
‘And the prize for Best Book goes to........Ferdinand du Vall.’ The room erupted.
As du Vall stood up to collect his prize, beaming beatifically at his audience, his wife whispered to the man on her right.
‘Of course, you know he’s a phoney,’ she said casually. ‘It’s me that writes,’ but no one heard her over the wave of applause.