Authors: Penny Vincenzi
Tags: #Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #General
Penny Vincenzi is one of the UK’s best-loved and most popular authors. Since her first novel,
, was published in 1989, she has written fifteen bestselling novels, most recently
and the number one bestseller
The Best of Times
Her first ‘proper’ job was at the Harrods Library, aged sixteen, after which she went to secretarial college. She joined the
and later became a journalist, writing for
amongst many others, before turning to fiction. Several years later, over seven millions copies of Penny’s books have been sold worldwide and she is universally held to be the ‘doyenne of the modern blockbuster’ (
Penny Vincenzi is married, with four daughters, and divides her time between London and Gower, South Wales.
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By Penny Vincenzi
An Outrageous Affair
The Glimpses (short stories)
Almost a Crime
An Absolute Scandal
The Best of Times
For Paul, who was always there. And for Polly, Sophie,
As always, the list of couldn’t-have-done-without-the-help-of is long, possibly longer even than usual, and huge thanks to so many people.
Michael Drake, legal superbrain, took me painstakingly, patiently and above all inventively through all the complexities of divorce and custody in the 1960s and ’70s, escorted me round and indeed into the Royal Courts of Justice and Lincolns Inn Fields, responded to my interminable and often crass emails always within hours and usually minutes, suggested sub-plots, improved upon scenarios and never for an instant even implied that his hugely valuable time might be better sent. A complete star, you are, Michael, and thank you.
James Marshall not only arranged access to some of the great names in advertising in sixties London, he was just the best fun and the most informative guide on a whistle-stop tour of Milan, which took in an evening at La Scala, a trawl of the very best restaurants and shops and an introduction to some truly wonderful characters. Including the lovely Phyllis Achilli, who created for me a whole world in which to set that part of my story, Tai and Rosita Missoni, who hosted us in their box at La Scala and Peter and Mariella Van Shalwick, who cast a further bright light on the lifestyle of the city then.
I would also like to thank Jackie Hollows for so tirelessly and generously sifting through her past as a very glamorous air hostess in the sixties for wonderful funny, intriguing and colourful stories and detail; the book would have been the poorer without her.
The fashion element in the book is crucial; I spent my own early professional life in fashion but I still drew heavily on the recollections and stories of many of the leading stars in journalism. Felicity Green, Fleet Street legend herself, and my mentor indeed, opened up her wonderful memory store for me, especially relating to the Paris collections; Shirley Lowe, starry journlist, who inspired a whole strand of the story by reliving her own fashion editor past; John Bates, one of the leading fashion designers of the day (I was lucky enough to own not just one, but two, of his dresses) and John Siggins, his director and partner; and Liz Smith iconic fashion editor and also, like my heroine Eliza, fashion consultant to a famous advertising agency.
David Smith, husband to Liz, a dear friend, and a star of both journalism and advertising, provided wonderful anecdotes about both those worlds, but also some brilliantly funny recollections of his own National Service days. Very sadly he died just as this book went to press; his stylish, slightly old-fashioned sense of humour and turn of phrase were truly life enhancing for everyone lucky enough to know him.