Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary | 11 October 2012

Q. I sent out email invitations to my forthcoming book launch. After a week, only about half of my A list had replied. Then I found that my spam box was full of acceptances, consigned there by my computer which had failed to recognise the email addresses of PAs, executive secretaries and in one case an ‘events co-ordinator’ accepting on behalf of my friends. Surely, Mary, it must be easier to click ‘reply’ to an email than to bother to brief a PA to do it for you?
— R.J., LondonW11

A. Sometimes celebrities get aides to reply so that their private email addresses cannot be ‘harvested’ by publishing interns. However, having examined your invitation, I see that you have asked people to reply directly to you. Pretension is clearly at play. Punish this by having the clipboard Nazi on the door of your party make them wait in the cold until they have identified their name on an ‘Invited but failed to reply’ list.

Q. I am going out with someone who has made a huge amount of money so there is virtually nothing I could buy for him that would surprise or delight him. His 30th birthday is coming up. Do you have any suggestions?
— Name and address withheld

A. Why not surprise and delight him by splashing out $330 on having his DNA analysed, so that he can see at a glance from whence he came and via which continents? A simple swab from the inside of his mouth is all that is required. You can see further details at

Q. Re. your book How the Queen can Make you Happy.

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