The place smelt of fresh coffee and old books. It recalled vistas of fabled destinations, fascinating men with dangerous ideas, exotic women with exciting eyes. Deeds of daring, worlds of imagination, places you can visit, and people to share incredible lives with; all without leaving the comfort of your favorite armchair.
The young man with the tousled hair, slightly unkempt beard and the air of a perpetual student ran a tense finger around the neck of his grey pullover. Surely this place would have what he sought. The man at the counter looked knowledgeable and efficient, surely he could help.
"Do you have... 'Adventures in the Romanian Underworld' ", he asked with a nervous chuckle. The man reached behind him as a passing assistant placed the required volume in his hand. He proffered it to the younger man with raised eyebrows and a conspirational smirk...
After watching this segment of a bank commercial on my TV I was intrigued. Was there such a book? What was it about? Visions of dark crumbling Gothic edifices shrouded in fog and incessant thunderstorms; and pale men with widows peaks and eastern European accents and a penchant for black capes and echoing, humourless laughter danced in my head (replacing the visions of sugarplums that had been dancing there since the night before Christmas) . Or was it just a line plucked from the twisted imagination of some advertising copy-writer? Time for serious research. Time for Google!
There were about 296 results for 'Adventures Roumanian Underworld' and a further 85,700 results for 'Adventures Romanian Underworld'. I can't claim to have searched through every single entry, but there does not appear to be a book of this title on the net. The closest I could find was a double DVD set with the films 'The Cave', which was set in Romania, beneath the Carpathian mountains, and 'Underworld', a dramatic fictionalised account of the sometimes stormy relationships between Vampires and Werewolves.
A pity, because the title held such promise, and judging by the reactions of the bookseller and the chap buying, there is the decided hint of 'cult classic' written all over it.
If you have come across this post as a result of googling 'Adventures Romanian Underworld' I would love to here from you! Please comment, it's fun, it's free, and all the cool kids are doing it!