Broken Heart
you they know about films. But if you need anything else, let me know. I have a great team here in the UK.’ She handed me the card and looked at Louis. ‘Not that I’m suggesting for a minute that Louis won’t have it covered. This guy knows more about films than anyone I know.’
    ‘Thank you,’ I said, holding up the card.
    ‘Sure. Well, I’ll leave you two to it. We’ve got a launch party for the new season of Royalty Park on Monday and I’m supposed to be taking an interest.’
    Royalty Park was a television costume drama, co-funded by the BBC and American Kingdom, the third series of which had been the UK’s most-watched TV show of 2014. I’d only ever seen it in snatches, but there were adverts for it everywhere in anticipation of its return.
    ‘I hope you don’t mind my architect being here,’ Alex Cavarno said, looking past me, and I remembered the other man. He was measuring up some panelling on the front stage. ‘Billy,’ Cavarno called out to him. ‘Please get me that drawing for the projection room tomorrow morning.’
    ‘Will do,’ the man said, holding up the tape measure.
    ‘Yeah, well, that’s what you said last week,’ Cavarno muttered under her breath, and rolled her eyes. She shook my hand again. ‘Pleasure, Mr Raker.’
    ‘David,’ I said.
    She nodded. ‘Alex.’
    Her eyes lingered on me, her smile still evident at the corners of her lips, and, out of nowhere, I felt a sharp fizz of electricity scorch my veins. My gaze drifted to her left hand, automatically, without thinking, searching for aring. It was a movement that – when I looked up at her again – she seemed to be aware of, because, when I found her ring finger empty, it was like she gave a little shake of the head. I’m not married, I’m not engaged, I’m not seeing anyone . We remained like that, caught in a silent conversation neither of us appeared to be quite sure was happening, and then I shuddered out of the moment, grabbed a hold of myself and thought of Melanie Craw. What the hell was I doing?
    ‘Anyway,’ Alex said, ‘you have my number.’
    ‘I do,’ I said, just for something to say.
    Her eyes lingered on me for a moment more – and then she was gone. It was almost a relief. I felt embarrassed, thrown, guilty.
    ‘Don’t worry,’ Grant was saying, and I realized he was directing me to a line of seats in the back row of the cinema. ‘I cleaned all the cobwebs off these.’
    I got out my pad and pen, then spent a moment trying to clear my head, pretending to leaf through my notes. When I was ready, I explained about my meeting with Marc Collinsky, how the subject of ‘Ring of Roses’ had come up, and how I wanted to find out more.
    ‘Well, I can tell you everything I know about Hosterlitz,’ Grant said, ‘which will take us some of the way into his career, but not all of the way. I’m afraid, like most people, I have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to his horror films.’
    ‘You mean the ones he made in Spain?’
    ‘Particularly those, but also the ones he made here in the UK too, during the early seventies. I’ve seen House of Darkness because that became quite infamous – he was turning up drunk, or spaced out on painkillers, every day during that.’
    In Collinsky’s article, I remembered the quote from the House of Darkness producer that claimed the same thing. The late 1960s and early 1970s seemed to have been when Hosterlitz was at his lowest – depressed, addicted, bankrupt.
    ‘I’m happy to tell you what I know, though,’ Grant said.
    Although his South African accent was close to estuary English – no doubt softened over time – it was still peppered with hard vowels and Ja instead of Yes .
    ‘Great,’ I said.
    ‘Okay, so I’ll give you the brief A to Z. Hosterlitz made his debut in 1949 with My Evil Heart , made for a company called Monogram. After that, he shot three of the greatest film noirs in the history of cinema, one after the other, all for American

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