I've been celebrating the New Year in London these past few days at the beautiful St. Ermin's Hotel, which is steeped in spy lore. A secret tunnel is rumored to run beneath the grand staircase (pictured above) all the way to the houses of Westminster.
Part of the reason I've been ploughing through The Karla Trilogy
is because I knew I'd be staying here. Back in the 40's Winston Churchill held a meeting at St. Ermin's to recuit the founding members of the SOE, who, headquartered at St. Ermin's, carried out covert operations during WWII. The MI6 also had a floor of the hotel. In the 50s, it was rumored that members of the Cambridge 5, including Guy Burgess handed over secret papers to their Russian handlers in St. Ermin's Caxton Bar.
I met up with Ada, who pens one of my favorite daily reads, Classiq, at the Valentino exhibit. It was amazing, and of course later we had to meet up with Ada's husband for a drink at the famous Caxton bar. No spies in sight, although you never know...
Hoping your first week of the new year has been a good one!