Graham Donaldson, the testy, irritable and world-famous author of “Intercourse” (it’s an ELT textbook), is off on a tour of Greece, bookended by conferences in Athens and Thessaloniki. The fierce lady who latches onto him on the flight out to Greece is the wife of a very important man. Why is her burly chauffeur following Graham around, watching his every move?
By the wonders of coincidence, many of the characters from Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs are in Greece. Malcolm O’Reilly has just published his first book, at the instigation of Cosser, who is now the area manager of Truman Education. Barry and Gabriella Grant, toddler in tow, are working with a Greek publisher, but it’s Gabriella who is the author, not the disgruntled Barry. The highly-efficient Roberta (from Home Affairs) works for Graham’s publisher and has to organize his tour. Roger (last seen in Foreign Affairs) is now an international guru figure and a superstar on the ELT conference circuit. He is promoting his new book on Dynamic Acquisition for Eden & Churchill, whose local rep, Alvin, sees life through a haze of alcohol. Sinj Trumpington joins them. He is a heavy-smoking heavy-drinking author, stumbling along with the Truman Education party. He sounds like a London lad, but is secretly very posh.
Enter Aphrodite, the most beautiful woman Cosser or Roger have ever seen. Beautiful, teasing and unobtainable. And enter Judith, Barry’s old girlfriend from when they were fifteen back in Norfolk. They all set out from Athens on their various paths to Thessaloniki where the questions about Graham’s shadowy watcher and Aphrodite all come to a dramatic conclusion.
(Ed McLachan’s cover illustration reverses the classic story of Paris, and shows Aphrodite, proffering the golden apple. But who is the fairest of them all? Well, Graham’s too busy with his notebook, but Cosser and Roger have their hopes set high.)
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