The design critic was always more comfortable in hotels than at home. His father, an undercarriage salesman, hoiked him up and down the country in school holidays, and receptions and bars were more familiar than domestic drawing rooms. Room service menus were bedtime reading. He has ever since considered hotels his special subject. Factor in some more maturely acquired notions of hedonism, voyeurism, travel-lust, romantic anticipation and greed, and he’s just about the perfect Smith undercover operative.