What a day! This is my first trip to Las Vegas, and I am loving it! I know they say that what happens here, stays here, but I’m going to be taking home a lot of photographs, and I’ve even bought one of those cheesy snow-globes, with the world-famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign in it, for Bud. I’ll give it to him tomorrow, as a part of his birthday present.
We’re staying at the Tsar! Hotel and Casino. It’s a fabulous place, with architecture and design elements inspired by, and closely modelled after, Tsarist Russian themes. And tonight, guess what? We’ve been invited to the most exclusive restaurant in the place: the casino owner’s private dining room. If you know Vegas you’ll know where it is. The Tsar! has that giant glass edifice shaped like a Faberge egg at one end of the building, overlooking The Strip. The private restaurant is right at the top, in the bit of the egg you’d cut off if it were soft-boiled. It should be wonderful.
Bud’s friend and old colleague, Jack White, has a son working here at the Tsar! as a chef, and he managed to wangle us an invitation. I am so happy for Bud—he deserves a real treat for his birthday, so, although he’ll be a year older after midnight, we can at least celebrate in style.
We arrived a few days ago, and we haven’t stopped. I suppose that the most overwhelming impression the place has made on me is its sheer size. It seems to take forever to walk from one casino to the next, even though they look as though they’re very close together. And when people tell you “It’s a dry heat” here, they aren’t lying, but that doesn’t make it feel any cooler. Today, September 24th, it reached almost 100 degrees fahrenheit, and that meant that Bud and I gave ourselves a “day off” and lounged beside the pool for a few hours. Very relaxing. Lots of slim, young bodies lying about the place. Well, except for the man with the body covered in tattoos, that is. He was neither slim, nor very young.
Tattoos fascinate me, and often repel me at the same time. As a psychologist they fascinate me—why a person chooses to use their skin as a canvas is quite a complex question. They also, in many cases, are truly wonderful works of art. But the repulsion sets in quickly, as does my inability to stop myself from profiling the person who has them. I’ll set aside for one moment the knowledge that certain criminal elements use tattoos as a way to mark themselves as a lifelong member of their chosen brotherhood, and, in some cases, to tell stories about their exploits that can only be understood by insiders. Beyond that there’s the question of where on the body they appear. His were everywhere, and I mean that as literally as I am able, given that he was wearing a pair of swimming trunks. Bud and I talked about what he might do for a living, given the fact there was no way he could hide his tattoos—certainly not those on his face. Bud’s decided he was an actor, who was happy to accept a narrow range of parts, I had him pegged as a tattoo artist. As he left the pool area, I sat up and called to him. He looked quite shocked when I asked him what he did for a living. His reply told Bud and me that I was right.
That means Bud owes me a cocktail. Ha! So this evening, I’m going to have one of the hotel’s signature Tsar!Tini’s and drink it happily. Then we can make our way to the private restaurant and indulge in what’s bound to be a fabulous meal. Here’s hoping Bud has a very happy start to his birthday.
You can read more about Cait in The Corpse With The Platinum Hair, the fourth book in the “Cait Morgan” mystery series, published by TouchWood Editions, coming in October 2014. The first book in the series is The Corpse with the Silver Tongue.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on September 15 for the chance to win a copy of THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB, the third book in the series. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.
About the author
Welsh Canadian mystery author Cathy Ace is the creator of The Cait Morgan Mysteries. Born, raised and educated in Wales, Cathy enjoyed a successful career in marketing and training across Europe for twenty years before migrating to Vancouver, Canada. There she taught on MBA and Undergraduate marketing programmes at various Universities for a decade. Her eclectic tastes in art, music, food and drink have been developed during her decades of extensive travels, which she continues, whenever possible. Now a full-time author, Cathy and her husband are keen gardeners who enjoy being helped out around their rural acreage by their Labradors.
Also, look for The Corpse With The Sapphire Eyes in Spring 2015 and The Corpse With The Diamond Hand in Fall 2015.