What links a vintage postcard, a forgotten novel and a lost film? The answer - a small room in a Paris left-bank hotel.
Since I began posting on Invisible Paris it has always been clear to me that there are certain subjects for which the blog format is not suitable. These slippery topics have stretched out over months, lead me on tangents in and out of Paris, and have never yet been published - until now.
This particular adventure began with a simple postcard. It was not of a particular site or building, but instead just a dreary view from a 6th floor balcony. The perspective, looking out across the Place Saint Michel towards a barely visible Pont Neuf, was framed by jagged iron railings. It was an ordinary postcard, but one that seemed to capture a singularly lonely and melancholic viewpoint of the city.
Flipping it over, I noticed that the postcard had been produced to advertise “A Room in Paris”, a book published in 1955 and written by an author called Peggy Mann. As I had heard of neither, I purchased the card and set out to track them both down. This is that story.
The result is a 10-page PDF document, but don't worry - it also includes a number of fascinating archive images! I also gave it a label: The Invisible Dossiers. There may be others - if their various tentacles ever lead towards satisfactory conclusions!
>>View and Download the PDF here
Thanks to Betsy Houlton and her family for all their help in the creation of this document, in particular for sending me copies of the book, for answering my questions and for giving me access to the archive material.