This is the strange name that Danny gave to the cigar-smoking man in the hat and pince-nez whose photo he found in the box holding the family snapshots. Nobody knew who the Pince-Nez Man was, and they couldn’t understand how he’d got in the box. So who could he have been? And what was his connection with the beautiful Emily, who was looking so downcast all the time? Only Danny knows, for it is he who discovered their story.
What was a pince-nez [ponz-nay]? It was a kind of spectacles popular at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. As it didn’t have any side-pieces, you pinched it on your nose (pince = pinch, nez = nose). Although people don’t wear them any more – they can’t have been very comfy on the nose! – they keep on turning up in stories, films and even computer games like Harry Potter, Poirot, or Sonic the Hedgehog.
Illustrations of László Réber
Translated by Andrew C. Rouse