Before Carrie Bradshaw or Hannah Horvath, there was Sally Jay Gorce. Inspired by a year the author spent in Paris, Elaine Dundy's first and surely most compelling novel debuted in 1958. Sally Jay, perceptive but flighty, self-aware but wide-eyed is a character you want to befriend. The plot isn't complicated, simply the re-telling of the adventures of an American in Paris. It opens one morning with Sally Jay drifting down the Boulevard St Michel in a evening dress cinched with a red belt because the laundrette hasn't finished washing her day dresses. Dundy - actress, director and writer - grew up in New York but later lived in London where she would meet her husband, famed theatre critic Kenneth Tynan. Their marriage would not survive the success of her book. His jealousy so seething that Elaine had to move people out of his earshot when they complimented her work. I only wish Tynan could hear me say, 'I loved it - it's a must read!'