Within seconds of meeting me for the first time, Sidney Urquhart moved in for the kill.

It was a December evening in the late 80s, a holiday party at her daughter Rachel’s apartment on West End Avenue, and I was making my debut as Rachel’s new boyfriend. (I’d met Rachel—now a novelist—while we were working at Spy.) I didn’t know that much about her parents, Sir Brian and Lady Urquhart, nor they about me, but Sidney had clearly heard who my favorite author was.