WALL !, a novel of intrigue and mystery as Ian Fleming and Noël Coward conspire with the father-of-the-bride to elevate the occasion of the nuptials to an international event.
ROSALIND’S WEDDING, a novel of intrigue and mystery as Ian Fleming and Noël Coward conspire with the father-of-the-bride to elevate the occasion of the nuptials to an international event.
Flagnon Pangborne, Dallas’s notable writer and patriarch of the most dysfunctional family since Kaufman/ Hart’s Sycamore clan, is either the victim of a disastrous practical joke, or the catalyst for the century’s most elaborate, complex and dramatic undertaking.Fleming and Coward, co-authoring the latest James Bond adventure, ensnare Pangborne in a bizarre plot that defies imagination as they utilize Pangborne’s daughter’s wedding to catapult a daring idea: the destruction of the Great Wall of China!
Noël Coward came into the house at that moment and, in what the American assumed was a British custom, embraced Fleming and brushed his left cheek with his lips. “Good to see you, old sport—hello, there! You must be Pendergast, the Yankee bloke!”
They shook hands while Pangborne examined the Anglo icon. Strange, the American journalist thought, Coward did not look at all what one would imagine to be a genius of the theater: a renowned playwright, actor, composer, lyricist, novelist, director, singer, dancer, performer extraordinaire—a true Renaissance Man of World Letters and Affairs, who was also a bona fide aristocrat, soldier, war hero, Knight of the Realm, philanthropist and favorite of kings and statesmen everywhere. His cover as an intelligence operative for British Special Operations Executive during World War II had been conceived by no less than Winston Churchill himself! Good lord! Noël Coward! And there was Flagnon Pangborne, a nobody, shaking his hand in Ian Fleming’s eclectic parlor!
Coward was not, Pangborne noted, a tall man, no was he especially robust, although the years had added some rotund tonnage to this ship of Dionysus. He was not fat—portly might say it better—and he seemed to illuminate the neon of mediocrity in his general appearance: pasty, squiggly complexion, beady eyes, prominent nose, weak chin, hair combed straight back and flat from a very mild widow’s peak, oversized, prominent ears—he looked like someone scurrying from an underground station incognito, hoping no one would recognize him but causing several to wonder “who is that grand fella?”
But of course everyone knew who he was—that was what made Noël Coward unique; he was unquestionably as recognizable as anyone, in any venue, as, say, Richard Burton, Neil Simon, Laurence Olivier, Fred Astaire or Robert Goulet. Within an instant, Pangborne realized there was simply no one he’d ever meet as remarkably unique as this Man of the Theater for All Seasons.
“What are we drinking?” Coward asked, his voice, like Fleming’s, a flaccid rush of deep-throated huskiness carrying a clipped British accent that nearly buried all personal pronouns and verbs in an inaudible sarcophagus of mumbling hiss. “God, my tongue is an inflated sausage! Thirst makes a coward of all us Cowards!”