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Leslie Charteris

Vendetta for the Saint

Hodder & Stoughton 1965
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Leslie Charteris

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IT was the pleasant pause after the antipasto when the healthy appetite, only slightly assuaged by the opening course, rests in happy anticipation of good things to come. The Rosa del Ve-suvio was cool and light on Simon Templar's tongue, and for a few rare minutes hi his adventurous life he prepared to surrender to whatever gastronomic pleasures Naples might provide, and tried not to think of certain other distractions for which that city is also somewhat notorious. Somewhere behind him, in the cavernous depths of Le Arcate, the restaurant where he sat, a lobster was leaving the humble ranks of the Crustacea and being ushered into the realm of great art in the guise of Aragosta alia Vesuvio, This was a moment to be savoured and treasured to the full. Therefore the loud and angry voice which suddenly disturbed his peaceful mood was a gross and egregious intrusion. "Go away!" it snarled. "I don't know you!" Simon turned a h'ttle in his chair for better observation of the tableau, which he had quite disinterestedly noticed as it developed.

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