A prequel to the first book in the series in which Lord David explains how he inherited the title and along with it a very unexpected job as unofficial envoy to HMG. He's expected to travel the world and solve some odd problems for the Government and to cover up some embarrassments. As he's totally naive with women can he survive some of the advances of the femme fatales he meets and with just his stiff upper lip to help him can he return safely to Lady J?
David gives an overview of the book:
Wednesday 27th November.
The plane ride to Sanliurfa was rough, and so was the company. There were only eight seats on the plane which looked as though Von Richtofen might have been the last pilot. Each seat, bar mine, was occupied by rough unshaven men and even more unshaven women with an assortment of livestock on their knees. There were chicken and pigs and on my knee a goat. The pilot came. He looked bleary eyed and hadn't shaved for a week, but he got the plane up and we arrived safely.
Outside the small airport building were three taxis. Seeing me emerge from the building all three drivers rushed over and tried simultaneously to grab my case. They were all jabbering in a dialect I didn't understand ( anything other then English and some schoolboy French). One of them eventually tried, “You H'Engerlish Mister?”which got enough of a response from me for him to grab the case and shoo away the others.
“Manchester United” he said, knowing that even I must understand that.
“Where you go?” he asked,
“To Pasha Mehmet” I replied and I saw his face harden for a moment before he ushered me into his car.
“You friend Mehmet?” he asked.
“No” I answered, “But, I'm a guest who wants to see the archaeological diggings here.”
“Ah” he said as if that answered everything.
“My name Selim, you need car you call. I show you around.” At which point he passed me a grubby card with his name and phone number and then started the engine.
Our journey to Mehmet's took almost an hour during which time Selim was smiling again and pointing out places of interest to me. Eventually we could see what looked like an old Crusader Fort atop a large hill. Selim pointed it out as our destination. His method of pointing didn't fill me full of confidence as he raised both hands from the wheel , said “Mehmet there,” and spat out of the window. He refused to drive through the gate as we drew up so I paid him there using American dollars and ensuring a big tip.
“You call if you need, ANYTIME,” he emphasised and drove off.
As he did so, the largest man I've ever seen approached me. He must have been fully 6'6” tall and almost as wide. There were cascades of fat over the top of his pants and his little waistcoat barely reached his sides. He was also completely bald. He bowed to me, picked p my case as though it weighed an ounce and gestured me to follow without a word.
We went through the gateway and across a large square where I could see guards in each corner carrying machine guns. In the centre was a fountain with a light display that looked out of place in such bleak surroundings.
We entered a large building on the far side of the square and my guide pointed towards a room using one hand to indicate that I should enter. He went off with my case.
I entered the room which was richly furnished with antiques from all parts of the world and with stands bearing what were obviously antiquities.
“Greetings Lord Bouldnor,” I heard, and glancing towards a chair at the fireplace saw an arm inviting me forward.
There in the chair I found Mehmet. He was probably no more than 5' tall and though he had a full head of hair he was almost as rotund as his servant.
“Greetings Lord Mehmet” I said, “You are most kind to extend this invitation. Please call me David.”
“Welcome” he replied, “ Here I am known as Pasha Mehmet.”
I offered my hand which he shook limply.
“Sit, sit” he said, “ Can I offer you a drink perhaps? Tea, coffee ,sherbet.”
“A tea would be most welcome” I replied.
Mehmet clapped his hands and the giant entered the room.
“Tea for two Abdullah” Mehmet told him. To me he said “ My slave Abdullah cannot speak to you. He has no tongue. The reason for his bulk is because he is a eunuch.”
I was surprised at the statement but made no comment.
When the tea arrived we drank it as Mehmet talked about all his possessions and where they came from. It was strange as he seemed to know exactly where they came from and their dollar worth but he spoke without warmth. They were just possessions to brag about, not warm, beautiful objects to him. He did not impress me.
As the day grew on we went through to a smaller salon to eat. There was the usual low table and cushions to sit on. The meal itself was wonderful and parts were served by a succession of different men all quiet and taciturn. I had so far seen no women at all but decided not to pass comment.
Shortly afterwards Mehmet wished me goodnight and had Abdullah show me to my allocated room. I thanked Abdullah and he bowed and left.
My bag was on the divan and I could see at once it had been searched. I wondered if Mehmet was suspicious of all his guests.
I decided to write my diary and bring you up to date, and am now resting on the divan. Tomorrow I hope to see more of the fort and discover if Mehmet is holding Prunella Battersby as the Colonel's daughter is called.