Author rings Bill Clinton's bells

16th July 2004 at 01:00
A silver-haired 59-year-old children's writer with a big smile and a surfeit of jewellery may seem like an unlikely potential terrorist - but the CIA security chaps at Bill Clinton's glitzy book launch in London on Monday weren't taking any chances.

Jacqueline Wilson, author of bestsellers such as Girls in Love and The Story of Tracy Beaker, set off just about every alarm in the Guildhall as she passed through the heavy security cordon at the event.

"I'm a woman who likes her jewellery and I was all bangled up to the eyeballs as usual. I went through the metal detector thing and the bells started going off," says Jacqueline, who has made a trademark of her 16 jangling bangles and ring-encrusted fingers set against silver nails.

She smiled her most innocent smile at the guards but there was no mercy: every piece of the Wilsonian Christmas Tree look had to be removed before she got in. "I was reduced to licking my fingers to get the rings off."

Nevertheless, the old charmer made a favourable impression: "He had just done a mammoth book signing at Waterstone's and appeared on TV with Richard and Judy and yet he was still going until late in the evening.

"I talked to him about the Hay-on-Wye book festival, which he had gone to, and you wouldn't necessarily have expected him to remember it but he just chatted effortlessly away. "

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