If there is such a thing as a comfort food book, Bemelmans' stories are it. His evocative tales of grand hotel life have a reporter's eye for sensory detail, yet he always manages to bathe his world and it's lovable characters in the mood of a fairytale. Meet the girl-hungry hotel Magician, Kalakobe the African cook, Mr Sigsag, Monsieur Victor, Mespoulet and an unforgettable cast of down but not yet out hotel employees. A feast of food writing. And once you've read one Bemelmans' tale you fall in love and want to read the lot.
Ludwig Bemelmans (1898-1962) wrote and illustrated over 40 books. Born in the Austrian Tyrol, he was sent to America at the age of 16 after he shot a head-waiter at his uncle's hotel. He arrived in New York sporting pistols to fend off Indians. In addition to his books he wrote for Hollywood, owned restaurants, designed sets for Broadway and painted everything from magazine covers to hotel frescos. A legendary traveller and bon vivant, he asked to have "Tell Them It Was Wonderful" carved on his gravestone.