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Murder in the Café Corona

photo, group of the week, terrie and cara

Terrie and Cara, the powerhouse 'Group of the Week.'

As Usual, All Fiction

Paris:– Thursday, 27. October 2005:– The weather is so unseasonal that we are beginning to expect the TV–weather news forecaster of the day to apologize for the balmy airs and sunny skies, as in, 'Gosh darn, faithful viewers, but I have to report that you are going to have to put up with another sunny Friday and an even sunnier weekend.'

While other reports are saying global warming is unfriendly for polar bears and Antarctic tourists who like to see their icebergs still attached to a deepfreeze continent, the very same global warming here in Paris is giving us Indian Summer bis bis when we don't usually even have one.

Leaves! Turn red or yellow or brown and fall off! Skies – turn gray, turn to water, turn on! Temperatures – get reasonable, get normal for the season. In this bis–bis–season my summer clothes are wearing out. If it keeps up we'll all turn into prunes.

So much for the rant. Here are the latest facts, as divulged to me by tonight's TV–weather news dude, who tried to excuse the information by saying that we are getting the tail–end of Hurricane Wilma.

It, he said, is the cause of steadyphoto, waters of the week offshore 60 kph winds from the south, and temperatures for Friday, Saturday and Sunday of 21, 20 and 22 degrees, a whole six degrees above normal. Somehow this will cause mostly blue skies with little black clouds but mostly sunshine, for just about all of France except the pointy nose of Brittany, sticking out into the Atlantic and dripping. If you are out that way, lend it a hanky.

The waters, of what else, other than the Week?

In case you are reading this in 2009, you should know that this season's weather in Paris is not being normal. One of my elderly neighbors guessed that the last fall when it was similar was in 1985 – so, scientifically, it only happens once every 20 years.

The 'Murder of the Week' Report

Before I leave for the club I take all of the papers and other trash out of my ratty winter coat's pockets again and reload the stuff into my antique summer jacket again. With a high of 23 degrees forecast for today bundling up like a bear going to hunt salmons is something I don't want to do, unlike the folks who started out the day shortly after dawn at 8:30.

Going along past the cemetery I see that the leaf sweepers are having their high season. Overhead it looksphoto, cafe of the week like 85 percent of the leaves are still up and mostly green, but between sweeps of the sweepers 10 percent fall, to an ankle depth. At least they are dry and light, but I guess fewer fit into the plastic sacks.

The flying, 'Café of the Week.'

Plastic sacks? While they are harassing us to quit using plastic sacks to bring our groceries home from the Monoprix, they are using plastic sacks for the leaves? Next they'll probably be throwing them in the wrong garbage can. Ah, forget it. Nothing is supposed to make sense.

The helicopter that is overhead watching something quits hovering and moves north while I get into the Métro and when I get out I see it hovering over the Pont Neuf. There is a lot of westbound traffic on the quay but not much is happening on the bridge except for masses of people hanging out on it.

The quay on the Right Bank is clogged with traffic too and there are a lot of folks looking for antique postcards, and sitting on the terraces of cafés along the Quai du Louvre, and even the terraces of the club's café are populated.

I go in the open door to the bar and slip around the corner into the 'grande salle' with two minutes to spare, to find new member Cara Black looking under fronds, looking for the club's secretary. Except for the old man who is reading a newspaper there is nobody else in the big room, so we do the mutual recognition signal, which consists of a simple, 'Hey!'

I was wrong. There's a huge group of loud people filling a whole corner of the club's area in the big room, acting as if they own the place and as we sit down they get louder and tink glasses and bang spoons and scrape chairs. It is so bad that the bird, Eva Peron, picks up a tired frite and wings off with it, forever.

I tell Cara about the club's sign–in procedure. 'Sign the book,' I say. She does. I say, 'San Franciscophoto, watern blur is not a valid hometown of the week,' I add, so Cara writes Noe Valley. The 'Waiter of the Week,' one I've never seen before in my life, shows up to take our order for drinks.

He says, "Il y a que le logomotion dans la vie," he says when I say I'll order later. He doesn't exactly say 'logomotion' but this is what I've written. Later, when he brings a café for Cara he tells me that I can sit in the café forever and not order a drink. I should ask the patron if I can sleep here too.

Then member Terrie Blazek arrives. Terrie already knows Cara because they had drinks in Chicago, and they both remember it. I wasn't there so I don't remember it.

Cara Black writes crime novels that are set in Paris. She gives me a 'readers copy' of her latest book, 'Murder in Montmartre.' It again features her ace detective, Aimée Leduc, and it will be on sale next March. My copy is to review, and she says I am supposed to overlook its typos and other errors.

Montmartre follows 'Murder in Clichy,' Bastille, Sentier, Belleville and the Marais. Together they constitute a one–woman crime wave in Paris. Cara says she suggested to the publisher that she bump somebody off in Versailles or someplace out of town, and they said, oh no, do the other 75 quartiers in the city first.photo, cara black

Terrie has brought a copy of 'Murder in the Marais' and Cara dedicates it for her, to her mother–in–law.

The club is getting to be like a lit. club with all of its writing members. For some reason I remember to ask Cara how she got started with this mass production of murder everywhere.

Dark, murky, view of Paris crime diva, Cara.

But first Terrie mentions how fine she finds the Mona Lisa's new room in the Louvre across the street, how you can see the painting perfectly clearly from 40 feet away. Cara says she has a friend in there who is copying a Fragonard. She says these copies can sell for a bundle of dollars or euros.

Meanwhile I am wondering, 'what other quartiers?' Then the ladies switch to memories of Chicago. "That's cool about Chicago, you can smoke there," Cara says, adding, "unlike San Francisco."

Then Terrie admires the cover photo for 'Murder in Montmartre.' Cara says a woman in Brooklyn does all of the 'Murder' covers. They are from stock photos. The woman in the photo is not Cara.

My notes are too sketchy to give you an accurate account of how Cara began writing. It started out around 1985 with a true story about the Occupation with the mother of a friend, and then there was a lost contact with the friend when Cara was ready to write.

Without the source the story became fiction, but over the years the search for the friend continued, and some of the research also involved talking to private detectives. One of them turnedphoto, murder in montmartre, cara black up the friend again almost a decade later, and after 'Murder in the Marais' was published, but by then it was really fiction.

Terrie and I start helping Cara who hasn't asked for any, by thinking up new true characters associated with quartiers that haven't had the 'Murder' treatment yet. 'What about,' I suggest, 'VI Lenin and Leon Trotsky, hanging out in the Monoprix that used to be a café under where they had their propaganda office near Denfert?' Cara scribbles something in her notebook.

Watch out for this book next March.

Since there are no more than three of us we can discuss this like grown–up human beings, so we do, but I neglect to note it all. I mention it in case you think all club meetings are purely nonsense instead of one percent of them being about serious lit. stuff.

But we are a bit restless because the sun is blazing away on the terrace right outside. At first we try making the 'Group Photo of the Week' inside the café, but the light is spottily bright, and so we are cavorting outside under the red awning, with wild abandon and with some nervous terracians for an audience.

Back inside Cara is packing up when Terrie tells us about the lady who pulled the ring trick on her. This is the same ring trick that other club members have described, but with Terrie the same lady tried it on her four times over several days.

We tell Cara we'll come to her reading next year on 20. March at Shakespeare, when she rolls out 'Murderphoto, camera of the week in Montmartre.' Three days later she will be doing it again at the Red Wheelbarrow in the Marais. Then Terrie and I go over to the Pont des Arts which still has some slanty sun slung across its boards, where a couple of clowns are doing their act.

'Detective Camera of the Week,' belongs to Terrie.

We don't realize it but we missed the four Indian chiefs from Brazil who were looking the foot bridge over on Wednesday, before or after having a visit with Paris' chief of Anarchists, Olivier Bresancenot.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This club meeting 'report,' hacked out using three of my fingers and none of my thumbs, gives a mere hint about what this is about. To find out more take a look at the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with its historical photos, simple words and slick parody of a membership card. You can join the club too, without having any ID, in any year containing 52 'Thursdays of the Week,' each and every one with a genuine saint

Why Not, Where, When, What, Who, How?

To be perfectly frank – club meetings begin at 15:00, in the afternoon, on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, always in the western Euro Time zone, now on its gambol through Indian Summer to winter. Known in faraway zones as 3 pm to 5 pm, around somewhere else is not the place where meetings are held. Come to the café La Corona and bring a friend or two. The folks in the rear of the big room, under the hovering sparrow named Eva, are us.

Attend a meeting – by being at one. Pass a hour or two for a whole meeting with new friends. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'real' being equivalent to 'true' even if 'first' is more than likely too, and if it is an alternate form of 'reality' with any sort of connection to truth, like true or fictional. Coming to more than one club meeting is also permitted.

Note this note of caution – you may have a personal reason for remaining unfindable via the Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' ingraphic: club location map one of these club reports. Toss your own name into Metropole's search feature if you have forgotten.

The 'ex–rules' that the club used to have continue to be former. Nonetheless these discontinued rules may still be accessed so that you can learn that this somewhat hypothetical club of no purpose seldom repeats them as they are already on record, even if remembered by very few.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional. There are usually dozens of empty chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Nobody will mind if you stand either. Whatever you say will be truly appreciated by the other members present if there are any listening, and there usually are some but not always – and if it should chance to be written here.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because today's meeting raised the possibility of 'Murder in the Grande Salle.'

The café's location is:

Café–Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny – or – 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre–Rivoli, Pont–Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday, from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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– unless stated otherwise.
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Waldo Bini