Room Service
114 pages

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114 pages

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Room Service, the memoir of a young woman's progress from Norfolk country girl to success in London, is narrated by Diana Hunt from the time she leaves college. She is an ambitious, unscrupulous bisexual predator, with brains (she is bilingual) and beauty, who uses both to achieve her goals. This intriguing debut novel is another critically acclaimed title in Andrews UK's New Author range.


Publié par
Date de parution 11 juin 2014
Nombre de lectures 18
EAN13 9781849891554
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0100€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Title Page
A Memoir
Diana Hunt
With an introduction by
Alex Robinson

Publisher Information
Room Service published in 2010 by
Andrews UK Limited
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published, and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
The characters and situations in this book are entirely imaginary and bear no relation to any real person or actual happening.
Copyright © 2012 Diana Hunt
The right of Diana Hunt to be identified as author of this book has been asserted in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act 1988.

‘To fail as a prostitute is comical’
- Soren Kierkgaard

‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore’
- John Ford - title of a play

‘She speaks eighteen languages and can’t say No in any of them’
- Dorothy Parker

by Alex Robinson
My first encounter with Diana Hunt (later Mrs Diana Gilbert) was at a meeting of the West London branch of the Alliance Francaise. As is usual on these occasions, we had to name who we were and our occupation. Of course, we had to speak in French - whatever our level of expertise. There were about a dozen pople of both sexes at the meeting and we were chatting before the lecture. The reason for my attendance was that the publishing company of which I was a senior editor had recently opened an office in Brussels; they needed someone who had at least a working knowledge of the language until a permanent representative could be appointed. Hence my attendance that evening - but with a little apprehension, as it was some years since I had held a conversation in French; the last time was at ‘A’ level. I had read natural sciences at university.
The first impression of Diana , a beautiful brunette with carefully coiffed hair and expensive, but simple, clothes, was her height, at least six foot. But what also struck me was the way she stood: she didn’t slouch; on the contrary, her back was straight, and with her legs a foot apart, her arms folded across her bosom: her message seemed to be, Don’t mess with me. I came to the conclusion that Diana was an athlete of some kind. This was just idle speculation on my part. But she turned to me and said the usual ‘Bon Jour’ etc. I replied. She looked straight at me; I felt under inspection.
‘You haven’t spoken French for a while, have you?’
‘As a matter of fact, no.’ I thought that was a bit rude. She followed it with another question.
‘What is your profession?’ I explained about the publishing venture; that I worked on technical publications.
‘Are you married, children?. Do you live in London, Mr Robinson?’ She caught my expression. ‘Oops, I’ve done it again. Sorry, nosey me. But I can’t help asking questions.’
I couldn’t stop myself smiling. ‘And how do you earn a crust, mademoiselle?’
‘Oh, I’m a housekeeper to a very distinguished man.’ She made it sound a risque occupation. Was I supposed to think she was his mistress? I mentioned she was expensively dressed-- a grey silk blouse and a fine grey tweed skirt--so there was nothing provocative there. Even so, she commanded my attention (and a couple of young men in the room). I mentioned one in particular. Diana didn’t even look in his direction, but said, ‘Do you think he wants to jump in my knickers?’ I was going to make some suitable reply when our lecturer called us together.
So that was my introduction to Diana Hunt. As you can imagine, that was a memorable meeting, not only for her personality, but also for her straight talking. I wondered from where she originated; there was a definite rural burr behind that precise English. She told me later: Norfolk, ‘Nelson’s County’. She seemed rather proud of that fact; which I thought unusual, for she didn’t seem the sort of girl to hark to the past.
As I was leaving the evening’s session, I turned my mobile on and called my wife. ‘I’ll be home in about half an hour, Susan.’ ‘Very well. Have a good evening?’ ‘It was hard work.’ ‘What were the rest of the people like - no matter, it’ll wait.’ ‘I was chatted up by a young woman - at least, I thought I was chatted up; she was rather rude.’
‘I’m going to stop you going there. You’ve obviously made a hit.’
‘I sincerely hope not. What are you doing?’
‘Making jam.’
‘What again?’
It took me about 45 minutes to reach my front door. I was met by a fruity, sticky smell. I walked straight into the kitchen, and kissed my wife.
‘Hi, husband.’ She held a long spoon at my face. ‘What do you think of that?’
‘When you sup with the Devil you need a long spoon - but yes, delicious. But what is it?’
‘It’s supposed to be a secret, but I’ll tell you: blueberry and raspberry; the secret is getting the balance between the fruits and sugar correct.’ My wife is a pharmacist; my worry is that she might be bringing her work home. We sat round the kitchen table that Friday evening having thick vegetable soup and fresh rolls. I poured her a glass of white wine. Susan said:
‘Tell me more about your mysterious girl friend.’
‘She is not my girl friend.’ (Why do wives do that - put you on the spot.) ‘Nothing much to tell: expensively dressed; housekeeper (or more) to what what she called a distinguished gentleman. Excellent French.’
‘I see.’ My wife is a quiet woman; perhaps her profession has made her ultra-discreet. Anyone surveying ‘her’ kitchen would notice that it absolutely shone, stainless steel pots and pans and tools; every jar and bottle arranged in alphabetical order. It frightened me at times. I called it the food laboratory. A fat tabby cat lumbered by. I said:
‘Why does Hodge always sit on my kitchen chair, and nobody else’s?’
Susan said: ‘Mmmmm. Can’t help you with that, I’m afraid.’ That was dismissed. But she continued:
‘I’ve got an idea, Alex, on how to improve your French oral/aural.’
‘Oh, yes?’
‘Take me to Paris for the weekend.’
Our adolescent son Jonathan must have overheard his mother, for as he walked into the kitchen he said, ‘Aren’t you a bit old for dirty weekends, mum?’
‘Less of your cheek, number 2 son. And remove your disgusting trainers before coming any further into my kitchen.’
I wanted to close this conversation about Miss Hunt. I said, ‘Forget Paris: it would be more like Brussels - which is the most boring city in Europe.’
Anyhow, I forgot about all that; my new responsibilities claimed all my time for the next few weeks. I spoke to Diana Hunt at the meetings, but only briefly. The final meeting was at the end of the course. The Alliance Francaise always arranged a small party - the usual gathering, canapes and wine. Diana came up to me as I was deciding which particular cheese-wotsits and wine I was going to have. ‘Oh, hallo, Diana.’
She grinned at me. ‘Hallo, Alex. Can I pick your brains? You’re the one in the publishing trade, right?’
‘Yes,’ I replied warily.
‘Don’t look so scared. I need information. It’s like this, Alex: I’ve written a memoir, and I wish to have it published. Can you give me any tips?’
In spite of myself I was intrigued. What sort of memoir would a woman in her twenties have that would be publishable? Diana said: ‘ It’s about a poor Norfolk orphan girl who makes her way in the wicked city, using her brains and her sex - there’s also violence and dollops of culture.’
‘It sounds like the sort salacious story that the semi-literate go for.’ Then I told her to look in The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook (‘I think Max has a copy’) for an agent who specialized in that sort of thing. And also advised her about a covering letter, return postage etc. She thanked me, I left for home - and that is the last I saw of Diana Hunt, until a few weeks later. I was in the garden at the rear of our house, pruning roses, when Susan called to me:
‘Alex; coffee break.’
Dutifully, I removed my wellington boots, sitting on the step. On my right, just inside the garden entrance, was the door to the poky lavatory; pinned to the door was a notice: ‘Anyone who enters without removing their muddy boots will die a thousand deaths. One was inclined to find these little yellow Post-its from Susan dotted around the house, warning of dire consequences if any of her three boys (me and our two sons, Philip and Jonathan) were to transgress. Examples were not replacing the lid on the lavatory seat, leaving the cap off the toothpaste, and dumping dirty socks at the foot of the laundry basket. As you can imagine, we were all really scared of her.
Elizabeth David of Maida Vale pushed the cafetiere and mugs towards me. ‘You be mother.’ I did as I was bid, then helped myself to a chocolate brownie. ‘I’ve got something to show you,’ she said, and spread a copy of the Daily Telegraph in front of me. There was a story dominated by a photograph of Diana Hunt and Max Gilbert. They were attending a charity auction of his paintings in aid of cancer research. Susan said:
‘That’s a lovely dress she’s nearly got on.’
‘Miaowwww. And Max Gilbert is a distinguished artist.’
‘More your interest than mine. Do you think she is his mistress?’
‘How would I know? He’d be a fool if she wasn’t.’
Susan sniffed. ‘Maybe she keeps french letters in her Gucci handbag.’
‘What a charming old-fashioned phrase.’
We were interrupted on our musings by voices in the hall. I heard Jonathan say something like, ‘Oh all right, then.’ He came into the kitchen followed by a leggy girl about our son’s age. Jonathan scowled. He said:
‘Mum, D

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