Monday, January 22, 2018


 You Are Invited....

-from Susan

I couldn’t resist answering the same question as last week’s: Dinner party for eight, seven of them characters from crime fiction, me the eighth? 

I love planning dinner parties, hoping to spark good conversation among people who may not think alike, but who think, and can talk, and are fun. Usually, there’s some constraint on the ideal guest list: someone will be out of town; person A has a boring partner who can kill conversations with a single syllable; person C doesn’t drive at night any more. But for this – no bounds!

No killers at my party, sorry. They may be fascinating but my guests have enough of crime in their daily fictional lives, and this is a night off. Everyone speaks enough English to participate in the evening, but it’s quite an international crew. Oh, and one more thing: I’d be tongue-tied with awe and fangirl crushes, so I’m sending Dani O’Rourke, my smooth fundraiser and witty observer, in my place. She moves in these social circles better than I do.

Yes, yes, it’s one more than the suggested eight, but that’s how my dinner parties usually work – too many delightful people so I squeeze someone in, spoiling the symmetry but assuring a great evening. I’ll stay in the kitchen, cooking and eavesdropping.

Archie Goodwin, who can slide into any group and operate with charm while getting people to tell him just about anything. Women love him. Ask him anything about New York City.

Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, a.k.a. Georgie, a British royal with no money but lots of class, perfect for Archie to flirt with. Get her to talk about the Irish aristocracy if you want to see her blush.

Aimee Leduc, whose baby will probably be asleep in my guest room along with Aimee’s little dog, Miles Davis, and who gives off waves of Parisian glamor and can talk European politics with expertise and verve.

Elouise Norton, who will probably be wearing her gun even though she’s far away from her LA comfort zone and who can get the women laughing at some male foolishness (to which Archie will merely raise an eyebrow and smile).

Guido and Paola Brunetti, because you shouldn’t even think about one half of this happily married, multi-lingual, brainy couple without the other, even if it means you can’t serve Italian food because Paola is the best home cook in Venice, maybe anywhere.

Precious Ramotswe because she will add the sugar and sweetness, offered in a lilting Botswana accent, that makes her a great storyteller, and because she is always the guest people fall in love with when they get to know her.

Rumpole just so all that sweetness and charm is counter-balanced by a cynical, acid-laced view of the world from an old Brit with a rumbling voice (and freed for the night from She Who Must Be Obeyed).

Bon appetit!

Images courtesy of my friend Mark Jordan, 
whose table designs are famous among his many friends.

Guests courtesy of:

1.     Rex Stout
2.     Rhys Bowen
3.     Cara Black
4.     Rachel Howzell Hall
5.     Donna Leon
6.     Alexander McCall Smith
7.     John Mortimer


Paul D. Marks said...

I'm RSVPing, Susan. What are you serving? And what can I bring?

RJ Harlick said...

What fun. The party continues. Great guest list, Susan.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Sounds like a great party, Susan. Yours actually sounds like the guests might survive it.

Unknown said...

I'm not so familiar with this bunch -- just like last week's lists -- so I'll help out in the kitchen and listen in too, if that's okay :)

Susan C Shea said...

Paul, just your wit and appetite!

Dietrich, fortunately for all us fans, these guests have all been immortalized.

RM and Robin, the wonderful thing about these dinners is they can magically expand to include everyone.