Usually at these readings in Germany and Austria and Switzerland, about one in ten of the of the books I am asked to signed are the original English editions, but now I am getting people coming with the French editions of Bruno for me to sign.
There were two firsts in Vienna. One woman came up with the Czech edition of the second Bruno novel and another came up with the 1986 English edition of my book on Gorbachev and Perestroika. It is striking, heartwarming and rather humbling to be reading to people who take books and writers, even writers of crime stories, so very seriously.
At my hotel when I returned after the Salzburg reading, a parcel awaited me with an anonymous note attached. It read: “Dear Herr Walker, I see in your latest book in English that you appreciate our fine Gruner Veltliner wines from Austria. Please accept this bottle for the pleasure your books have given me and my wife.”
And in Vienna, after recording an hour-long broadcast for the hugely popular Sunday morning radio show Café am Sonntag, one of my interviewers searched Vienna to find me a bottle of an Austrian whisky called A 13. The name signifies that it had been stored 13 years in cask, and very fine it is. What delightful people.