Remember how, a while back, I was looking to find the portrait of Helene Hanff (she of 84, Charing Cross Road fame) that Elena Gaussen painted? (The artist and the painting are described in Hanff's sequel to 84, CCR, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.)
Well, Google had turned up nothing, except for a bit more information on the artist, Elena Gaussen Marks, and her husband, Leo Marks (whose father originally owned the bookshop to which Hanff wrote about in 84 CCR). So I was resigned to never seeing the portrait. However, as I read more about Leo Marks and his career as a codemaker during World War II (and as the author of lovely cipher poems), I became more interested in reading his book, Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War, 1941-1945.
So I checked the book out at the library, brought it home, and looked at it for a few weeks, longingly, as I didn't have time to start it right away. Finally I decided I would just have to get it back some other time, but before I returned it, I opened it up to check out the pictures in the middle. I don't know how you feel about this, but I am fundamentally unable to put a nonfiction book down before I have looked at its pictures (if any are available). Even if I don't get them read, I always look at ALL of the pictures in whatever nonfiction books I drag home. I don't know why. They're usually the first thing I look at when looking at new nonfiction books in bookstores, too. So before I returned Between Silk and Cyanide, I went to look through the pictures, and guess what I found?
"Helen Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road, by Elena Gaussen Marks." A picture of the portrait! Or at least I'm guessing it's the portrait. (As my sister says, how many can there be?) It's not at all what I expected, but it's beautiful in its own way. So there it is, and if you want to see it, all you have to do is check out Leo Marks's book. All I can say is, suck that, Google.