Frankie sent me a message last Sunday morning so I could tell Peter it was Helen's birthday today. Unfortunately I didn't read it until I had left but I remember that he had mentioned that very day that he thought she would like Balzac so I emailed him and he recommended either "Lost Illusions" or "Splendeurs Et Miseres Des Courtisanes" as a gift from the two of us.
"Lost Illusions" has been delivered. The English title of "Splendeurs Et Miseres Des Courtisanes" is "A Harlot High and Low." I can't speak for everyone, but the latter doesn't scream light-hearted, surprise token birthday present to me, though I have been chuckling to myself imagining it dropping unexpectedly through the letter box.