Harold is braced for an influx of tourists following the publication of Dan Brown’s latest blockbuster Inferno. Featuring all the hallmarks of Brown’s previous novels: mystery; clumsy allusions to great works of art and prose that would make a dog weep with embarrassment, Inferno contains amongst its convoluted plot a puzzle that is set to place Harold firmly on the tourist trail.
“Inferno is about Dante,” explained Brown fan, Cassie Fine. “His real name was Durante degli Alighieri which is an anagram of ‘There, under Gillia, dig’ so the connection with Harold’s obvious seeing as we’ve got an ancient grave whose headstone simply says ‘Gillia’. It’s so exciting! I can’t wait to know what’s in the grave.”
“I did my dissertation on the divine Mr D,” said Pippa Delaney who is hoping to cash in on this new Dan Brown craze by displaying a red cup in Veggie! Veggie! Veggie! for famous men to look at. “He was exiled from Florence in 1301 and there are gaps in the historical record about where he went. Most accounts have him going to Rome before settling in dear, lovely Lucca but some place him in Paris and even Oxford, so why not Harold?”
Other local businesses catering for the anticipated tourist boom which they hope will rival the one experienced by Rossyln Castle after its chapel became one of the settings for the The Da Vinci Code include The Stephen Fryer which is offering mullet and chips in tribute to Tom Hank’s hairpiece from the two Dan Brown big screen adaptations and male beauty salon Todger which is encouraging men to ‘uncover the mysteries which have lain hidden for decades’ by having a full back, sack and crack wax.
Harold’s oldest resident, Elsie Duggan, 86, is less excited. “It’s a load of bobbins,” she told the Evening Harold. “Gillia is old Gillian Madge whose husband was too tight-fisted to pay any more when the stonemason decided to charge by the letter. I remember my mum telling me about it when I was a girl.”
Local law-enforcer PC Antia Flegg has said that anyone going near the grave armed with a shovel and a wide-eyed expression will be charged with criminal trespass and being unbelievably credulous. She also warned that as a precautionary measure until the Inferno fuss dies down all albino monks will be tasered on sight.