no. 17, may 2007
WE finally draw up at a parallelepiped which is almost as imposing in its proportions as the cube we passed earlier: the Hotel Urbis et Orbis, the name abbreviated on the towering signboard to a succinct U&O.
The building is of steel and crystal, and is surrounded by a park somewhat meager in extent but rich in bushes and trees, benches and gravel-paths. A great red banner hung across the hotel’s entrance pillars announces that…
No, it doesn’t announce. The wind has flapped and wrapped it drunkenly around itself. We have to go into the lobby and look at a free-standing notice-board to read about the convention that is opening today:
COMPLETENESS IS ALL
An International Forum on the Completion
Of Unfinished or Fragmentary works
In Music and Literature
Sinfonie n. 8 Livy: Ab
Die Kunst der Fuge Poe: The Narrative of
Puccini: Turandot Dickens: The Mistery of E. Drood
… We have lost sight of our three umbrellas amidst the cosmopolitan crowd clogging the lobby of the U&O. but here they are again—closed now, of course—following the arrows on the arcades and pillars, and thus making their way to the bar of their particular section. The convention will be inaugurated in half an hour, and they just have time to warm themselves with a quick cappuccino.
The room they enter is dimly lit and caressed by velvety background music. Numerous other experts in their field sit at the bar and at the tables…
Noticing that their colleagues have already done so, Black Umbrella and Grey Umbrella pin their identification badges onto their lapels: “H. Poirot” and “Capt. Hastings.” Shabby Umbrella pins his onto his cassock: “Father Brown.” They are all sipping their cappuccini when a tall man, whole billowing cloak and singular cap identify him at once, comes up and examines their badges with a large magnifying-glass.
“May I make so bold? Holmes,” he announces, and then introduces his companion, whose lapel-badge reads: ‘Dr Watson.”
The D. Case or the Truth About the Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens, Carlo Fruttero & Franco Lucentini, translated from the Italian by Gregory Dowling
by Scott Nicolay & Lesley Wheeler
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by Tammy Ho & Reid Mitchell
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by Cheryll & Janet Snell
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a novella, part three, chapters 16-22
by Mark and Rebecca Spencer
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by Mary Ellen Derwis & Joe Balaz
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by Ilya Ilf & Eugene Petrov
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