London Rod called to say that, a few days ago, he'd found a copy of The Ardly Effect in a charity shop in Ealing. After telling the lady behind the counter that he knew the author - omitting to add he still owed me £20 from a bet where he failed to pull Judi Dench at The Questors Theatre in 1978(ish) - he coughed up his 50p, took it - TAE- home and read it.
"I was genuinely surprised," said London Rod. "It actually made me laugh!"
My flush of pleasure was chilled slightly by the fact that in 2005, when TAE was first published, London Rod had claimed, "Thoroughly enjoyed it. Really funny. Can't wait for the next one."
"So you didn't read it when it came out?"
"Umm .. no," said London Rod.
"Why did you tell me you had?"
"Well, I thought I knew all your awful jokes and didn't want to hurt your feelings."
It seems discovery in a charity shop has, in London Rod's eyes anyway, elevated my book into the ranks of 'readable'. Someone had bought it and passed it on which somehow added value.
Perhaps there's a cunning marketing ploy here. I shall add Charity Shop to my promotional to-do list for when the next book's ready and post the results. It's certainly cheaper than paying folk to read it in public.
Anyone else tried the charity effect?