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No sample story this week

November 16, 2009

Publication day is this Thursday, so now you have no excuse.  Go and get the book!

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About “Cold Preserves”

November 6, 2009

knifeMy friend Silvio and I had a very good time setting up this photoshoot, and an even better time eating the model afterwards. Most photoshoots don’t let you do this.

Organized chalet parties are a very British thing. A company rents a chalet for the season and employs a chalet girl to live in it and clean and cook and look after the guests. Occasionally they want you to book the whole chalet for a week or two weeks, but more often they’ll accept parties of any size and you can find yourself sharing the chalet, or even a bedroom, with perfect strangers. I remember a particularly happy fortnight spent with a party of drunk Scots doctors in Les Arcs who sang Sloop John B. every night…

The chalet girls are heroines. They all have Chelsea names and I’m sure they mostly end up marrying Chelsea bankers, but meanwhile they cook us breakfast and tea and dinner every day, and like good hostesses they try to keep everyone getting on well with everyone else. Somehow they manage to combine this with skiing, flirting with the ski bums (or waiting for their boyfriend to come and visit), and getting a really good tan.

Above all, though, they love their guests and try to give them the time of their life. To them I dedicate this story. Its heroine is the ideal to which every chalet girl aspires.

(Model courtesy of Wild Beef at Borough Market).


Read the story when it appears on this blog next Monday. The book comes out the week after next, but you can pre-order it now.

About “Downhill”

October 30, 2009

pistemapThis story has dirty jokes and Roman legions, opera and orange peel, New Zealanders and Dutchmen. It could have gone on for ever — and yes, it’s another love story without any ghosts in it.


Read the story when it appears on this blog next Monday. The book comes out in the middle of November, but you can pre-order it now.

About “Miss Poyser”

October 23, 2009

ClockThis is a tiny story, half the size of any of the others in The Snow Cow. It’s a miniature, so read it slowly, somewhere still and quiet. I shan’t make a noise or disturbance by saying anything about it here. Miss Poyser would not approve.


Read the story when it appears on this blog next Monday. The book comes out in four weeks’ time, but you can pre-order it now.

About “Gingerbread”

October 16, 2009
Mountain hut by photographer Jef Maion

Mountain hut by photographer Jef Maion

Unexpected guests and unexpected hosts have been around since human beings first started telling stories. Sometimes the visitors are higher beings who have come to test the moral fibre of the human race — Zeus in Greek mythology, the Archangel Raphael in the Bible, Haroun al-Rashid in the 1001 Nights. Sometimes it is the hosts who are not what they seem — for good or for ill.

So here is another variation, which mixes in 20th-century Swiss history and, of course, a love story.

The story is set on the slopes down from Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald, which are decent middle-aged slopes that you can float down while reading a newspaper. At least, that’s what they are if the weather is right. When it isn’t… well, you’ll see.


Read the story when it appears on this blog next Monday. The book doesn’t come out until 19 November, but you can pre-order it now or request a review copy.

Miss Poyser at the Athenaeum

October 12, 2009

There’ll be a reading of “Miss Poyser”, one of the stories from The Snow Cow, by the author at the Athenaeum Club in London on Wednesday 25 November.

This is a members-only event and it won’t be open to the public, but it’s still a great honour.

About “The Long Man”

October 2, 2009

The Snow Cow may be subtitled “Ghost Stories for Skiers”, but there haven’t actually been any ghosts yet. So now it’s time for one.

Ghosts hang around for various reasons, but quite a few of them do it because they have something they need to do. This one certainly does.

I’ve been in a blizzard like the one in the story. It was somewhere above the Furgg lift station in Zermatt. It was nearly the end of me. They must have known what they were doing, running the lift in those conditions; but I certainly didn’t know what I was doing, getting on to it.


Read the story when it appears on this blog next Monday. The book doesn’t come out until 19 November, but you can pre-order it now or request a review copy.