Thursday, March 18, 2021


Myrtle Saitowitz contacted my publisher and asked if she could call me; I did not know what to expect, and yet, from that moment on, Myrtle Saitowitz became a dear and devoted friend, all because she had read 21 Aldgate.

Our conversation began with these words: "You have written my life story."  Myrtle began.

I recognized her accent immediately. She was a Londoner and probably from the East End, a hint I wasn't expecting, and why she so related to 21 Aldgate.

Myrtle continued:  Before I left. London, I worked for a Lord (I cannot recall his name) and traveled, just like Clara, from the East End to his posh residence in Belgravia. The more I immersed myself in your book, the more it brought back memories that I had long forgotten. Your descriptions, your dialogue, you hadn't made it up.  It was real; it all happened. You described in a narrative that needed to be told, and for that, I wanted to personally thank you.

After that phone call, Myrtle became my unpaid publicist – my book talk arranger. My most avid admirer and, most of all, premier 21 Aldgate promoter. She arranged a flight for myself and my agent to Beverly Hills, where we were picked up and chauffeured to a hotel.  There we met Myrtle for the first time.  But it didn't feel like that – it felt as if I had known her all my life, a genuine, unassuming caring woman. The following day, I talked on behalf of The Israel Bond Fund, at a significant donor's Hollywood mansion home. I'd given many book talks, but this one was extra special. Myrtle was in her element – I was her protégé, her collector of cockney ditties. The one who connected her to the past and she to mine. On the way back to the hotel, we sang our hearts out – what I remembered she'd forgotten – what she sang – I remembered my parents teaching me, having heard their parents—vaudeville performers in Music Halls and Pubs.

Myrtle was a rare gift, one I least expected to receive, late in my life and late in hers. We may not have been in constant contact, but she was never far from my thoughts.  I had hoped to meet up with her one more time, but it was not to be.  Covid interfered with our traveling plans. I am grateful we met. I'm sad she is gone. She will remain in the songs we shared and the book I wrote, 21 Aldgate.

Friday, March 5, 2021

The introduction to Paul Maze's book 'Frenchman in Khaki' is written by   Winston Churchill - their friendship and artist collaboration continued from their first meeting during the First World War and continued through the 2nd World War and after until the time of Churchill's death in 1969.

 Tutored by French Artist, PAUL MAZE Winston Churchill's painting of Marrakech—given to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and sold by Angelina Jolie—sells for record £8.2m

Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque was one of three works by the former British prime minister sold at Christie's tonight for a total of £11.2m—to the same buyer


1st March 2021 21:01 GMT The Art Newspaper

Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque by Winston Churchill, sold for £8.2m with fees Courtesy of Christie's

The former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a keen amateur painter, tutored by PAUL MAZE. Churchill’s landscapes frequently come up at auction, but his works do not sell for the sort of sums that might have persuaded him to give up the day job. That is, until now, when

Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque (1943)—the only painting done by Churchill during the Second World War and which he gave to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943 —sold for a record £7m (£8.2m with fees) at Christie's Modern British art evening sale.

Adding further American gloss to the provenance, it was being sold by what Christie's coyly referred to as "The Jolie Family Collection", aka the actress Angelina Jolie.

Churchill painted the oil on canvas in Marrakech following the Casablanca Conference in January 1943—he had invited Roosevelt to go with him to Marrakech the day after the conference ended, insisting he must see the sun set over Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains before returning to the US. Churchill then painted this view the day after and gave it to Roosevelt as a memento—a gesture as political as it was personal. The work has stayed in the US ever since and was given to Jolie by her ex-partner, Brad Pitt.

The previous record for a work by Churchill stood at £1.7m (including fees), set by The goldfish pool at Chartwell at Sotheby's sale of the collection of Churchill's daughter, Mary Soames, in London in 2014—a record that was broken twice tonight.

This evening, Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque sold to a bidder on the phone with Christie's Surrealism specialist Olivier Camu, who was spending big on Churchill—auctioneer Jussi Pylkkänen referred to the bidder as being from Belgium (Camu is also Belgian-born). The same client bought all three Churchill paintings in tonight's sale, all for well above their estimates. The other two works were Scene at Marrakech (around 1935), which sold for £1.5m (£1.8m with fees, three times its £300,000 to £500,000 estimate)—underbid by an online client in Texas—and a 1927 view of St Paul's Churchyard, which went for £880,000 (£1m with fees) above a £200,000 to £300,000 estimate—also underbid by the Texan.

In total, the Churchill-mad bidder spent £11.2m (including fees) tonight on works by the prime minister-cum-painter. Unusually, none of the works in the sale was guaranteed.




Wednesday, March 3, 2021


                              Dear Pat,                                                       March 3, 2021

I just finished your magnificent book 21 ALDGATE and I feel the need to tell you that it’s one of those rare books that leave me feeling sad when it’s finished!  It’s like I’m leaving my friends!  Your descriptions of each character made each one so clear in my mind.  When I would read about Henry in his stall at the market, I pictured Stewart Haylock at the Red Barn!
The one question that still troubles me is that I wonder how people were able to rebuild their damaged homes.  Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover war damages.
I’ve heard so much about the war from my father’s point of view, and, while our country certainly suffered losses, this made me so much more aware of how much more horrific it was for those living in the battleground.
Thank God that our own version of Hitler didn’t get re-elected, no matter what lies he professes.  Everyone should read about history and vow never to let it be repeated.
Thanks for your wonderful novel,
Kathy Reilly