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who suggested cracking a bottle of wine. Ah-ha, I remember thinking, this is a woman
who knows that the way to a Scotsman's heart is through his liver. A day later, when I was
back in Edinburgh, supposedly thinking about my choice of agent (it was Mic, because
we'd got on so well, but I didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings by seeming too precip-
itate), she flew up to see her son, who was at Edinburgh University, and to convince me
that she was the right agent for me. I think the Laphroaigs settled it.
I set a scene in Complicity here in the Café Royal. I'd noticed that they had a drinks
gantry open from both sides with two identical bottles set back to back, so that it looked
like a single set of bottles standing in front of a mirror. How cunning, I thought, and just
the thing to confuse a very drunk person, so I had my central character, Cameron Col-
ley, already slightly paranoid, start to think that he'd become invisible or a vampire or
something when he thought he was staring at a mirror which wasn't reflecting him.
That whole scene is a bit of a writer's conceit; the friend Cameron's talking to - who's
called Al, has a wife he refers to as Andi and makes just this one appearance in the novel
- is Alexander Lennox, the never-directly-named central character in The Bridge ; alive
and well and, the implication is, married to Andrea, the woman he loves and thinks he
might have lost during the course of the earlier novel. The idea was that Complicity , for
all its final bleakness, does have a happy ending. It's just that it isn't its own happy end-
ing, and it's not at the end.
Oh, and when the two men head out of the Café Royal and visit a florist's round the
corner on St Andrew Street, there really was a florist's shop there at the time; it was called
Banks's. (It's wee pieces of nonsense like this that help make writing the sheer and total
hoot it is.)
This May, Roger, his fiancée Izabella and I tackle the Blue Moons together after a
visit to the Scotch Whisky Centre, close by Edinburgh Castle. We head there on foot.
I have never walked along Princes Street or up North Bridge without looking about
me at this gloriously displayed riot of architecture, rock, hill and glimpsed, distant river
and thinking, I love this beautiful city.
The Scotch Whisky Centre is housed in a fine old late nineteenth-century building
on Castle Hill, the continuation of the Royal Mile, and just a door or two away from the
Witchery, a restaurant that I happen to know has Grange on the wine list. There's a tour
which includes a couple of short films, a live tour guide, a sort of animatronic model
distillery with movable walls and bits that lights up (it's a model of the architecturally
dramatic Tormore distillery, on Speyside), and a ride round various tableaux illustrating
the history of whisky, taken in slowly moving cars shaped like whisky barrels. I found
some of this stuff a bit heavy on the hokum, but then I have a very low hokum tolerance.
There's a bit on the tour where the supposed ghost of a master blender gives us a short
talk when I felt myself come over all literalist and was not far away from standing up and
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