A Banquet of Consequences(269)

By: Elizabeth George

She said, “I’ll have to work round it when I finally get to this part of the flat, but it did seem to me that it was time. It’s not a perfect situation, of course. But really, when you think about it, what actually is?”

“Very little, I find,” he admitted.

“So will it do for now, Tommy?”

“Daidre . . .” He took a steadying breath. “Yes. It certainly will.”


I owe a great many thanks to Dr. Doug Lyle, who first suggested sodium azide to me as an efficient poison and who also revealed to me how astoundingly easy it is to purchase. He fielded questions once I had dispatched my victim, and he was infinitely patient about providing me with all sorts of information. My fellow writer Patricia Smiley put me on to Doug, and I thank her for this, as I thank my fellow writers Nancy Horan, Jane Hamilton, Gail Tsukiyama, and Karen Joy Fowler for moral support when I needed it. My additional gratitude goes to Dr. Gayl Hartell, who provided much insight into aberrant personality types.

My cheerful assistant Charlene Coe did research for me, never inquiring why she was delving into everything from the various uses of baking powder to the dates of the Industrial Revolution. During the time of my creation of this novel, she also did laundry, shopped for groceries, fetched the mail, walked the dog, taught the cat to walk on a leash, acted as sous chef, watered plants, arranged flowers, saw to the upkeep of my car, and helped run the Elizabeth George Foundation.

My husband Tom McCabe graciously accepted my trips to England as well as the lengthy disappearances into my office required to bring this novel to life. He also heroically managed to rid our property of marauding deer, giving me one less thing to worry about.

My longtime cold reader, Susan Berner, asked merciless questions and made merciless comments on the draft of the manuscript, and these were indisputably helpful in my wrestling a complicated story to the mat.

My editor in the US, Brian Tart, was wonderful, generous, and completely supportive about my getting the manuscript in to him “when it’s completed” and not necessarily when the deadline called for it to be completed. His editorial comments—along with those of my UK editor Nick Sayers—proved critical to the completion of the story.

And as always, I must thank my literary agent, Robert Gottlieb, for his endless endeavors on my behalf.

In the UK, I turned often to the indefatigable and always resourceful Swati Gamble, of Hodder & Stoughton, who has for so long graciously tracked down individuals whom I need to interview or facts that I need to check.

My UK publicist Karen Geary suggested both Spitalfields and Camberwell to me as potential London locations, and she was spot-on with what they had to provide me in the way of settings. She also kept me amused during the time of this writing by making sure I had the latest thrilling details on Prince George and his parents.

Oxfords Bakery in Dorset became a central location for the novel, and its owner was good to show me around, to allow me to take photographs of odd objects, and to answer my questions.

The topographical gumshoeing I did in London and in Dorset provided me with all the locations for this book, and while I have attempted to be accurate in all things, the acute reader will occasionally notice that something may have been moved slightly to accommodate the needs of the story. But most things are as I saw them during the time of my research, including the amazing find of the Wren Clinic, where India Elliott plies her trade as an acupuncturist.

Mistakes herein are mine alone.