In 2010, in a secondhand bookshop in Wimbledon, I bought a book of poetry by Lynda King, ‘Time At My Shoulder’. I was drawn by her name because Linda King is the name of Charles Bukowski’s widow and because of the similarity to Lindy King of United Agents, whom The Guardian regards as no.7 of ‘The 20 most powerful celebrity makers’.
The authenticity and emotional depth of the 150 pages of poetry in Time At My Shoulder was heartrending. The book bears no ISBN number and no publisher’s details. The only information was that it was printed in Geneva in December 1999 and is dedicated “for Henry and Françoise”.
I was to discover that Lynda King had been an actress with a minor role in the 1959 film, The Bridal Path, which takes place on the island of Eorsa in the Inner Hebrides, where Ewan MacEwan, a widower and father of two, played by Bill Travers, is looking for a wife. It’s based on a novel by Nigel Tranter and was produced and directed by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat. It was shot on location around Oban, Easdale and Appin and premiered in Edinburgh.
Internet research disclosed nothing about Lynda. On 19th August 2010 I created a Lynda King Facebook page with the intention of putting some of her poetry openly online in the hope that a knowing eye would see it and contact me. There are eleven of her poems at:
six of which I posted on 16th February 2012 and five on 22nd August 2015.
After Christmas 2011 I had made no progress with the Facebook page. On re-reading the book, I came across a poem called ‘Dordogne’, the first line of which reads “Robert and Stuart bought the Moulin Neuf”. I googled “Moulin Neuf” to discover that it’s a bed and breakfast establishment in the Dordogne region of France:
I emailed Robert and Stuart on 18th February 2012 and received this reply from Robert on 20th February, “I find it quite extraordinary that you have found Lynda’s book and that you were then able, through the internet, to find the Moulin Neuf! I’m delighted that you enjoy Lynda’s poetry. She writes beautifully. I indeed have 2 copies of her book on my desk whilst writing to you. I could tell you lots about Lynda but the best person for you to speak to is Françoise Rodocanachi, who is a lifelong friend of Lynda and who lives in Geneva. See also page 125 of the book. [Page 125 has a poem entitled “THE RODOCANACHI HOUSE CHIOS”] Françoise does not have internet but can be contacted either by writing to her at [address withheld] or indeed you can phone her on [no. withheld]. I spoke with her on the telephone yesterday and told her of your interest.”
I telephoned Françoise Rodocanachi who is the Françoise to whom the book is dedicated. She told me that Lynda King was living in Canada and sadly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
She also told me that the ‘Henry’ referred to in the dedication is the actor Henry McGee to whom Lynda King was married until his death on 28th January 2006 and that Lynda was an actress.
Having learned that Lynda was an actress, I researched her on IMDB where I found this entry:
“The Bridal Path” is at:
“Beyond This Place” aka “Web Of Evidence” is mentioned at:
where there is a link to the full cast list in which she is cast as Miss Williams. http://www.listal.com/movie/web-of-evidence/cast
“Sweet Revenge” is mentioned at:
where there is a link to full credits where she is shown under ‘Other crew’ as ‘production controller’.
For some unknown reason, Lynda was not mentioned in Henry McGee’s obituaries in the Guardian, Telegraph or Independent:
Françoise expressed surprise that I have a copy of Lynda’s book. She told me that 500 copies were printed in Geneva and that Lynda had been “ripped off” when she discovered the books bore no ISBN or publisher’s identity and consequently could not be sold in Switzerland. As far as she knew, the only copy in England was one which she and Lynda had smuggled into the library of the American Embassy in London in a whimsical moment and clandestinely planted in the bookshelves. She believes that is the book I have.
Lynda’s poem, “A Visit To Florence 1989” ends with the words; “A lot can happen even at sixty” suggesting that she is now aged about 86 and was about 30 in The Bridal Path.
Françoise flew to London in April 2012 and I met her for lunch on Wednesday, 25th April in the Capital Hotel in Basil Street, Knightsbridge. She had told me she would bring photographs and information about Lynda King. She very kindly gave me an additional 40 page booklet of more of Lynda’s poetry entitled ‘There is no more to say’.
Henry McGee is well known yet his marriage to Lynda was never revealed. After meeting Françoise I sketched out a brief documentary film treatment on the discovery of Lynda, her marriage to Henry McGee, her film work and her poetry but despite contacting several production companies there was no interest.
In the film, The Bridal Path, Lynda King plays Miss Ainslie, a bank clerk in the Bank Of Scotland in a three minute appearance some nineteen minutes into the film and is credited in the final credits as the ‘clerk’.
Françoise Rodocanachi was the second wife of Constantine ‘Kostia’ (Georges) Rodocanachi (born 2nd April 1908 in Marseille, France and died in September 1981 in Geneva, Switzerland). According to The Times dated 19th July 1935, Constantine Rodocanachi married his first wife, Domina ‘Domna’ (Emmanuel) Zervoudachi on 18th July 1935 in Oggebio, Italy. They were divorced on 2nd July 1954 in Marseille, France shortly after which he married Françoise whose maiden name was Ferguson:
The final image on this page shows Françoise Rodocanachi in the 1960’s:
With so much history and poignancy flowing from this book, which so unexpectedly fell into my hands, it has become my most special book edition.