Friday, 4 March 2011

You heard it here first

Richard Wilcocks writes:
When Beryl Bainbridge (who sadly died last July) spoke in the New Headingley Club in 2009 (second Headingley LitFest, click on the link on your right), she read from her novel in progress The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress. She dwelled at length on the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on 5 June, 1968, a key part of the plot. He had just won the California primary election for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, and investigators later tried to identify a mysterious young woman seen in the hotel pantry, wearing a polka dot dress. In the book, her name is Rose.

This is now just about published, to be released at the beginning of June this year close to the anniversary of the shooting by Sirhan Sirhan. It can be ordered from Radish Books in advance if you want to be the first on your street to have read it. Reference is ISBN-13: 978-0316728485

Strangely, the official blurb does not mention the assassination. It reads as follows:
In the rainswept summer of 1968, Rose sets off for the United States from Kentish Town to meet a man she knows as Washington Harold, in her suitcase a polka-dot dress and a one-way ticket. In a country rocked by the assassination of Martin Luther King and a rising groundswell of violence, they are to join forces in search of the charismatic and elusive Dr Wheeler - oracle, guru and redeemer - whom Rose credits with rescuing her from a terrible childhood, and against whom Harold nurses a silent grudge. As they trail their quarry, zigzagging through America in a camper van, the odd couple - Rose, damaged child of grey postwar Britain, and nervous, obsessive, driven Harold - encounter a ragged counter-cultural army of Wheeler's acolytes, eddying among dangerous currents of obscure dissent and rage. But somewhere in the wide American darkness, Dr Wheeler is waiting.


1 comment:

  1. I am sure 'The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress' will live up to expectations. At another venue a couple of years ago I heard Beryl Bainbridge speak about it and another of her novels ' According to Queenie'. This is an excellent read- a fictional life of Samuel Johnson's life seen through the eyes of young Hesther (Queenie) Thrale.
    I look forward to reading the, sadly posthumously published, book