It’s a launch

There are successful launches, where the bottle thumps against the prow and the boat slips into the water, and then there is what we did Wednesday night, when the champagne flowed like a fountain (literally like a fountain, at one point) and the vessel pirouettes as it dives for the sea.

We had fun. A couple hundred of us assembled from far and wide (three from Oregon, a pair from Boston, Denver, Phoenix, and where else?) with maybe a dozen great Twenties costumes (speak up, Jennifer Ice and friend) which were rewarded by LOCKED ROOMS t-shirts or copies of last year’e2’80’99s hardback THE GAME. Book Passage provided the aforementioned champagne, as well as trays of great snacks which, if they weren’e2’80’99t accurate for the Twenties, were all the better for it (both Ritz crackers and Velveeta cheese were developed in the decade, but since the Ferry Building is a place dedicated to a celebration of great local foods, we thought maybe Ritz with Velveeta wouldn’e2’80’99t hit quite the right note’e2’80’a6)

And the Rolls’e2’80’94it was, well, it was blue. As a number of the Mary Russell fortune cookies said (eighty-five of them, to be precise) It was the colour of a cloudless sky in June. Jon Hart brought the car over from the Blackhawk, along with Dick Griffiths (who gave me much of the technical information I used in the book) and a number of other docents, and it went without a hitch. Oh, aside from a little starting problem at the end, but really, Jon was just helping us work up our appetites by a laying-on of hands and a nice long push of this noble azure lady (called Roller Bleu, or RB, and if you’e2’80’99re ever in the East Bay, go to Danville and see her, and sigh.)

The event itself, when I read a snippet and talked about Hammett, Holmes, and oh yes, Mary Russell, seemed to meet with general approval. Certainly it was the kind of audience that laughs happily even when you haven’e2’80’99t actually made a joke–I must remember to have champagne served more often at my events, everyone seemed to think I was terribly witty. They even stayed to buy books, always gratifying, and a relief for the bookstore, who had gone to such great effort.

We did not, in the end, dance any Charlestons, partly because we were all having such a good time we couldn’e2’80’99t hear the music playing. However, nobody complained.

I hope to put some photos up on the web site in a few days, if my daughter can sort out some kind of digital magic. I’e2’80’99ll let you know when I’e2’80’99ve done so.

I will also quickly mention another event, Thursday night, at Books Inc in Alameda. This is a new bookstore, shiny and filled with enthusiastic staff, and the people who showed up were a great bunch. Thanks to them all.

And thanks to you, reading your LOCKED ROOMS with such relish.

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  1. Chris on June 24, 2005 at 2:32 pm

    Congrats on a succesful launch!

    **IF** my copy of Locked Rooms arrives on time next week, I shall be locking myself away for a few evenings…If it’s late, then it is going on holiday with me the week after.

    Either way, I am SO looking forward to it!

  2. Laura on June 24, 2005 at 7:09 pm

    I got my copy two days ago and have since inhaled it. It was fabulous! I loved seeing the resolution of some of those Russell issues. Thank you for a great read. I wish I could have come to the party. Alas, my husband doesn’t get my obsession and wasn’t ready to spring for airfare from Wisconsin. I’ll start saving for the next launch party!

  3. free of domestic entanglements on June 24, 2005 at 7:33 pm

    Wish I could have been at this party! Great book, enjoyed it while a hot beach wind was blowing off the gulf of mexico–even the lifeguard came by to ask what book had me so engrossed (cute young boy, he was)!! Keep up the good writing

  4. Dianna on June 24, 2005 at 8:10 pm

    A wonderful book indeed! Thank you for all the lovely information on Russell – and Holmes for that matter!

  5. Jennifer Ice on June 24, 2005 at 8:40 pm

    Dear Laurie,
    The book launch was magical. My friend, Judy and I spend two days before the launch following Russell’s steps around San Francisco. Thanks for the ideas. I came to love the city and especially the cable cars. Hunting down vintage clothes was as fun as wearing them. We hope we did Russell proud in our choices. It was neat to see the car and learn so much about it from the docents, such nice people to talk to. Meeting you, Laurie, was the top. Your wit and creativity carried the launch. Thanks for the t-shirts. We wear them with pride. If you ever make it to Oregon know that Jennifer and Judy are ready to meet you again.

  6. Jennifer on June 24, 2005 at 8:41 pm

    Dear Laurie
    I forgot to mention that I finished the book on our drive back to Oregon. I loved the Holmes sections. Getting into his mind was revealing. A grand read!

  7. WDI on June 24, 2005 at 10:05 pm

    The launch sounds wonderful, and deservedly so. I’ve only just started the book, but am finding the combination of locale, subject matter, and wordcrafting heady and spellbinding in a way that has me deliberately slowing down to savor every word. This may be my longest King read ever 🙂 How delicious!

  8. Anonymous on June 24, 2005 at 10:27 pm

    This is Zoe, Laurie’s daughter. She asked me to write a line about LSE in response to a posting by Becca the other day.

    Becca, I’m not sure if you’re doing undergrad or postgrad, but either way I’ll tell you what – exams are hell. Two straight months of studying, 10 hours a day, with only a few days off… and all that before exams even began. Whew! Hellish, but hopefully worth it in the end.

    Exams aside, the rest of the year was fairly easy, as the papers I wrote didn’t count towards my degree. I’d say the hardest part of the year was simply adjusting to London, to a new school and to a life abroad. I’ve spent a lot of time in England so I thought I’d be OK, but oh no… it was a shock, and took a while to get used to (especially considering the exchange rate!) But get used to it I did, and made some wonderful friends along the way, so that by the time exams did come around, I was feeling comfortable enough in London to devote the necessary energy to revision.

    Sorry if this is somewhat of a mixed review, but I haven’t had enough time to gain perspective on it yet. It has been overall a wonderful and insane experience, definitely the most intense year of my life. Every minute was well worth it. And it’s not over yet! Back to London all too soon to write my dissertation. Here’s to more craziness…

    Hope you have a good time at LSE. If you want any more practical advice, just let me know.

  9. Jamie on June 24, 2005 at 11:04 pm

    I know I’ve been MIA for a little while, got sent out to CA for some trainning…I begged and begged for them to let me stay for an extra 2 days so I could make it to the party, but of course the Navy said NO. Anyway, back in GA now, just picked up the book, but I am not reading till I get to work tonight, I can’t wait!

  10. Carole on June 25, 2005 at 6:33 am

    Rec’d my copy from Amazon 6/22 4:30 pm, and started reading immediately! Did take time out for a peanut butter ‘samich’ and tea for supper and a further pause around 3 am to tell my pals at RUSS-L what a ‘swell’ book Locked Rooms was, then kept reading till about 7 am. I couldn’t help myself I had to know how it all came out!

    Did I mention it’s really a swell book? Holmes’ contribution was inspired, anyone who complains about ‘not enough Holmes’ this time . . . well, I don’t usually advocate violence, but . . . I am glad you used third person narrative though, we know the man can’t write a lick.

    Pardon my rambling, and thanks for the terrific adventure in SF with Russell and her consort.

    Carole aka ~the good witch of Mary Tavy~

  11. Becca on June 25, 2005 at 10:45 pm

    Hi Zoe,

    I really appreciate you taking the time to write. I understand the need to decompress after exams, although that sounds more intense than anything I’ve been through. I’ll be attending the General Course, which is undergrad and for just a year.

    Currently I’ve been working on choosing courses. I’m hoping for two in the economics department and two in the government department. I’m not sure which department you were studying in, but if you’re familiar with either, anything you had to say about courses or professors would be really helpful. If you like, my email is becwright at

  12. Erin on June 26, 2005 at 9:41 pm

    The event was wonderful=) We had a bit of trouble with parking (drove past the Ferry building about three times before finding the lot entrance and then had to beg the attendent to let us stay past 8pm)and the bookstore was hidden behind a potted tree, but once we got there it did not disappoint.

    You are terribly witty. I love listening to you speak in discussion. You makes things informative and interesting and entertaining all at once. It’s great=)

    I’m about halfway through LOCKED ROOMS and it is quickly becoming one of my favorites of the series. It grabs one’s curiosity from the beginning (why would someone have their house locked up for twenty years?) and it just gets better from there.

    Hope the rest of your tour goes well!


  13. Elle on June 27, 2005 at 2:24 pm

    Laurie and everyone,

    I have to add my raves about Locked Rooms. I have been looking forward to the story line since first you mentioned it, and I was not disappointed! I bought the book Thursday night, started it and finished it on Saturday. I knew that, if I stopped reading, I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I knew the resolution, not just of the mystery, but of Russell’s state of being.

    I really enjoyed this book, and I appreciated both the different tone and the addition of Holmes’s perspective. It was provacative to see how his mind worked, to say the least!

    I have never been able to point to a favorite in this series, because each book is different than the one before, while maintaining the high standard set at the beginning. Keep up the excellent work, Laurie!

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