Bestselling novelist Nicholas Coleridge has a Christmas card list that is at least 600 names strong, so it was no surprise that the launch party to celebrate the publication of his latest society blockbuster, Deadly Sins, set in the Hampshire worlds of New Money and Old Money, should have been packed.
Bestselling novelist Nicholas Coleridge has a Christmas card list that is at least 600 names strong, so it was no surprise that the launch party to celebrate the publication of his latest society blockbuster, Deadly Sins, set in the Hampshire worlds of New Money and Old Money, should have been packed. It certainly would have met with the standards expected of Coleridge’s snooty PR mogul protagonist Miles Straker. See page 20 for our pictures.
As befits the managing editor of Condé Nast, and a man who knows the commercial effect of having a magazine printed in different colour cover versions, the new novel was available on the night in both black and white colour options — très chic.
Those who enjoy the Coleridge oeuvre will not be disappointed with his latest witty dissection of modern society’s manners and morals. This time we follow the rampaging social and sexual ambition of Straker, a control-freak who drives a Jensen and lives between a multi-million-pound Holland Park garden square and a Georgian hillside manor in Hampshire (the garden boasts David Linley limed oak doors), when he is not enjoying an afternoon’s extra-curricular sex with one of his many mistresses.
His charmed life is rudely stained, however, when a new neighbour — a freezer mart tycoon from Droitwich called Ross Clegg — buys a derelict old neighbouring cottage, converts it into a suburban carbuncle and commits the heinous crime of renaming it Chawbury Park. Social war is declared and the novel is an entertaining literary romp as Miles attempts to use all his Machiavellian powers as a PR svengali to ruin his upstart neighbour’s parvenu ambitions.
For loyal Coleridge readers (who include David Bowie), the equally amusing game whilst reading any new Coleridge opus is to see what aspects of Coleridge’s own life have ended up being taken on by his latest protagonist. In Deadly Sins, Miles is a regular at Mark’s Club where he has his favourite table, and is also hands-on when it comes to organising the details of his own parties, at which his own children are strongly encouraged to attend (Coleridge’s own two eldest children were at the party, having got permission to bunk off from Eton for the evening).
But is Coleridge really anything like the ferociously driven Straker? When his last bestseller, A Much-Married Man, was published, he admitted of his own younger years: ‘I used to dance till three or four in the morning, two or three nights a week. I have always had a lot of energy. But I was never late for work the next day. I have never liked the idea of being out of control. Maybe I didn’t trust myself enough.’
Here we give the same treatment to our latest cover by Adam Dant, inspired by the Madoff scandal, called Palazzo Ponzi.