“When you read a historical mystery by Jason Goodwin, you take a magic carpet ride to the most exotic place on earth.” Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times.
Girl at the Avis desk puts down the phone on a long customer service call, and addresses the queue.
A small delay at Heathrow has had a knock-on effect; we’re at Jackson 24 hours after leaving Dorset.
‘Dodge Avenger, right?’
Izzy frowns. He leans into my ear.
‘The Dodge Avenger came out bottom in a test of 48 production cars in America,’ he murmurs. ‘Lowest for reliability, safety and design.’
‘Is there a pick-up truck?’ I say bleakly.
‘Mmmm-mm.’ She opens a drawer and pokes through a heap of keys with glorious silver nails. ‘Y’all want a Ford Fandango, a Dodge Bushwhacker, a Toyota Trailblazer or a Chevvy Traverse?’
We get the Chevrolet, partly because it’s the only one I really heard her say and partly because it has Texas plates and needs to go home.
In the parking lot it looks like a merger between a Samurai helmet and a London bus. I am awed, and dwarfed, by its huge wheels. We climb in sleepily, and when I turn the key the dashboard, the mirrors, the radios and consoles and parts of the ceiling burst into life, sparkling in thousands of tiny neon pin-pricks in the dark.
Izzy, who has never been to America or deciphered a Mississippi roadsign in his life, sees to it that we don’t manage to get lost, in spite of my best efforts.