Pembroke: Name of the prose

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The Independent Online
Today's publication of Umberto Eco's new book, How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays, reopens an old wound for Chris Golden, Nomura's newish head of fixed-income research. In 1984, the eclectic City man was busy working on what he describes as a 'historical, financial thriller' when the runaway success of Eco's monastic whodunnit, The Name of the Rose, gazumped him.

'I read it and thought, well, that's it, I can forget about mine. Come back in a decade. I didn't want to be accused of being a wannabe.'

Mr Golden's book is a 14th century caper involving murder, a chase across Europe, alchemy and a financial scandal. There are also plenty of monastic goings on, hence the comparison with the Eco book.

The as-yet untitled manuscript, only two-thirds finished, is still in Mr Golden's bottom drawer and may re-emerge when the timing is right. 'I haven't forgotten about it. There still might be a market.'

The proverbial champagne corks will be popping at Martin Peters, the West End firm of chartered accountants, where one of its partners has rowed to a Commonwealth Games gold. John Cooney paddled in ahead of the Australians and Canadians in the lightweight eights.

All this was news to the Amateur Rowing Association, whose offices remained unburdened by the result yesterday. Asked to confirm their boys' victory, a spokeswoman said: 'We won't know until 1 September when they get back.'

Gerry Metcalfe, finance director of House of Hardy, the fishing and outdoor clothing company, is flying out to Japan at the weekend hoping to hook a new distributor.

But he has a hard act to follow. In 1969, the company's commercial director, Jim Hardy, took the same trip and claimed to have introduced Japan to fly-fishing. Some 2 million Japanese now take part in the sport.

While Mr Hardy, who was a fly-casting champion, spent much time giving demonstrations on the finer points of technique, Mr Seymour is not planning to pack his waders. 'It's only a five-day trip and I'm going to Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido, so I don't think there will be time.'

A group of entrepreneurial Germans are set to rock the pet market next month with what they claim is a world first: a self-cleaning cat's toilet. The delicately named Pussycat's Point empties the used cat litter into an airtight, closed waste container and is portable so it can be taken on journeys.

More wacky products should soon be emanating from the fertile imagination of BB Tiernahrung und Bedarfsartikel (petfood and pet requisites). Patents for a poop-scoop device and another for preventing traffic accidents involving pets are being registered.