As a child, the empathy Luke Davies felt for fictional teen reporter Tintin led to a special relationship with the Belgian artist who created him. Four decades on, the Australian author still treasures their correspondence.
''You predicted to me how things would play out,'' my father says when I call him as I prepare to write this story. "You said you'd write back and forth and tell each other what was going on. You were relaxed and happy about it. I tried to gently pour cold water on the idea - I told you that thousands of kids probably wrote to him and that he mightn't have time to get back to you individually. But you shrugged it off.''
Dad tracked down the address for Methuen Publishers in London and away I wrote. To my father's surprise and my own joy, a couple of months later a beautiful letter turned up. An embossed Tintin waved to me from the envelope, his faithful dog, Snowy, trotting happily alongside him.