Champagne Blues

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The story begins with Claude, the most formidable concierge in all Paris. Claude is preparing for a crisis. As he waits, we note the Baccarat crystal, the Meisonnier silver tray, the Lalique ashtray. The crisis? The threatened invasion of the tourists. An hilarious travel romp from the authors of SOMEONE IS KILLING THE GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE. Nan Lyons has been a food and travel writer for over twenty years, contributing to Bon Appetit, Travel + Leisure, More, Hamptons, L'official New York Newsday, as well as creating the Fielding's Agenda series and the Access Walking guides. In collaboration with her husband Ivan, she wrote the first novel with a food background, Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe which was then made into a major motion picture. They went on to write four other novels as well as scores of articles on food and travel. She has just finished her newest book, Around the World in 80 Meals (Red Rock Press) was published in late 2010. Nan has most recently been made Associate Editor for Let's Travel a new website which features interviews as well as podcasts and articles on every aspect of travel. Her particular expertise is focused on restaurants, shopping and luxury hotels. For those who found Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe a yummy giggle: another cute, dirty, show-offy, occasionally appealing smorgasbord of puns, farce, food, sex, and minimal plot. That minimal plot: WW II Resistance hero Claude Picard, now the suave (he bathes in Pernod) concierge of Paris' ritzy Louis Quinze Hotel ( We have not had a cancellation since the Archduke Ferdinand in 1914! ), is fed up with the befouling presence of foreign tourists; so he and some war cronies plan to kidnap four famous Americans and demand the evacuation of all tourists in exchange for the hostages' lives. The four Americans? Two married couples who dominate opposite ends of the travel guide business: very rich Emma and Cliffy Benjamin write the Penny Pinchers' Guide to Europe; secretly impoverished Lily and Dwight Simon write Simon Says, the travel guide for the super-rich. Both couples are staying at Claude's hotel, preparing for an airline-sponsored tour of the Champagne country. And the earthy Benjamins loathe the blase Simons, of course and vice versa, so there's bitchy insulting galore, along with jokes about tourists, Mickey Mouse watches, McDonald's, prices in Paris...and one hilarious sequence: the Benjamins visit a Mother Superior who's intent on converting her austere convent (some rooms have no windows, a few have no doors) into a chic hostel: It is neither American plan nor European plan...It is His plan! As for Claude's plot, two things go wrong: he seduces both Lily and Emma, falling in love with the latter, so he has mixed feelings, plot-wise; and, though the napping is a non-violent success, a deranged Resistance crony re-kidnaps the Americans, forcing Claude to rescue his own kidnap victims. Meanwhile, France is trying to evacuate all tourists, selling them by planeloads to other tourist-hungry nations. Terminal silliness, gratuitous grafitti--like eating a hundred eclairs while listening to a Catskill comic--but a certain glossy audience will eat it all up and lick the plate as well. -Kirkus Reviews