I was invited to a book launch last night by the cover artist of A Murder To Die For, the supremely talented Neil Gower. Neil has collaborated with award-winning writer Alex Preston to produce a stunning book called As Kingfishers Catch Fire.
It's a series of chapters, each about a particular bird in which Alex draws on his own experiences and love of birds and combines it with literary references and descriptions of those birds by writers and poets. Each chapter is fronted by a stunning painting by Neil. It's a thing of love and beauty.
Neil had brought all of the original paintings with him and, when I arrived, he was lining them all up for display along the bookshelves. The venue for the launch was Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street, a stunning old non-chain bookshop of the kind that's slowly disappearing, sadly. We got a quick selfie in before the majority of the crowds arrived.
Alex and Neil gave lovely speeches from the minstrel's gallery in which their passion for this project shone through. Then we all got down to the serious business of chatting and drinking and celebrating the creation of what will become a treasured book of mine in years to come.
Now, roll on my own book launch in January!
(Last two photos by Andy Miller)