There are quite a few books that I had read more than once, but one that stands out has to be A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute. Here is a photo courtesy of Amazon.
I have a rather aged copy, that I must have had for at least 25 years. I remember buying it at a fabulous bookshop called Thorps in Guildford second hand.Thorps was an institution and I was very sad when it closed a few years ago. I can’t lay my hands on my copy at the moment, otherwise I would show you all a photo of the book, which now looks slightly tatty, but a replacement just would not have the same appeal. The book is a lovely story and I have read a few books by Neville Shute since, but this is an absolute favourite.
About 15 years ago I was about to board a train. It was early in the morning, a bit after 6am. Anyway, I boarded the train and about to arrive at my destination I bent down to put my book in my bag to find that I had no bag. I had a handbag and briefcase, but no overnight suitcase, with book size side pocket. At that time in the morning, there was still very few people on the train, and we had not stopped much since I had got on the train, so I asked my fellow passengers. Had they seen my case? No one had.
I alighted a case lighter and the station police phoned the station that I had travelled from. No suitcase. I claimed against my house insurance as the contents of the overnight case was a few hundred pounds. The operator at the insurance company was very understanding and I think I may have detected a slight smile in his voice as I announced the reason for my claim. Even now, when I hear the security announcements requesting that unattended bags are reported and that they maybe destroyed I think of my missing suitcase. Did someone enjoy the contents, has it spent the last 15 years in a lost luggage department or were knickers involved in a controlled explosion by a security expert?
Oh, the book in question, was A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute!