Found words, tucked into a used book. ten or eleven years ago, my friend Shaun came on a visit from London. He was reading Andrea Levy’s Fruit of the Lemon at the time, and he left it for me — and a decade or more later, I finally read it, this week. Levy won all kinds of accolades when Lemon was published back in 1999, and with good reason, because it’s a really lovely piece of work. It feels a little like two separate novels to me, but not so much as to make it any less lovely to read. If you have room on the pile of books next to your bed, I would highly recommend adding Fruit of the Lemon to it.

But this isn’t about that!

This is about the card that was left in the book, I have no idea by whom, and I have no idea when or where.

It’s not Shaun’s, and if memory serves (and it really might not) Shaun had gotten the book second-hand. But what is written on said card is simply so random — so much as if ripped from the story line of a different novel, possibly something like Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca — that I simply had to share.

Picture a plain white card, a little bigger than an index card. In the upper right corner, in fancy type face, you’ll see the words “Simply Ionian,” with a little travel stamp overlapping that reads “Simply Travel.” A quick Google search reveals that this must be a note card provided guests by Thomson Holiday’s Simply Travel division, specializing in “off-the-beaten-track holidays – characterful, one-off properties squirreled away on the road less travelled.”

Below what looks like a phone number and room location (“Panorama No. 7”), here’s what the card says:

Dear Dr. Winsor & Ms. Wheater & baby,

Welcome to Lefkas! I shall be around to visit you at 7:00 pm tomorrow evening. I would like to meet you at the ‘Café Del Mar’, which is situated as you bear left towards the beach from your apartments. I look forward to our meeting. Many thanks.


I ask you! Is this not a novel in the making?

If you write that novel, please thank me in the acknowledgements. You can list me under “Muse.”



  1. I’m filing this one right now. So many treasures inside books! The unexpected traces of readers past are among them.

  2. JHarper2

     /  March 14, 2013

    Writers Soundtrack 1

    Writers Soundtrack 2

    The card sounds like the beginning of a novel by the late Maeve Binchy. In her novels she wrote in a sweet uplifting optimistic way about the most awful things that people managed to survive.

  3. Oh! I love this!

  4. CitizenE

     /  March 19, 2013

    Welcome To Lefkas

    They say the poet Sappho, suffering from a broken heart, leapt from the cliffs of Cape Lefkas, the Ithaca of Homer, into the wine-dark Mediterranean below. Jacqueline Onassis fled there, north of the cape at one of her future husband’s resorts after the assassination of her brother in law, Bobby. It was 1968, and I was 23 years old, also having fled the United States in fear for my own life.

  5. Heather

     /  March 20, 2013

    That is amazing. I buy second-hand books all the time and I find neat bookmarks, handwriting, sometimes feathers. Its really awesome.