I have read (and experienced) some funny book signing stories, but now I think I've found the funniest yet -- perhaps because it is a joke on our Australian cousins -- lurking in the depths of the entry for Monica Dickens in an Oxford biography of the day.
There is a great deal of interest in that entry. Monica Enid Dickens (1915-1992), a great-granddaughter of the classic novelist Charles Dickens, set off her entertaining career by being expelled from St. Paul's Girls' School for tossing her uniform over Hammersmith Bridge. A glamorous blonde, she then joined a school for dramatic art, but was asked to leave when they found she couldn't act. So, with wonderful aplomb, she became a cook-general (perhaps by placing adverts. in The Lady magazine?) Her experiences led to her first book, One Pair of Hands, and then a series of bestselling, high acclaimed novels, plus a weekly column in Woman's Own.
It was all just "unbelievable luck," she modestly claimed.
As well as being a Samaritan, Monica Dickens had a great sense of humor. When operated on for bowel cancer, she wrote to a friend, "It's not a full stop -- just a semi-colon." So it is appropriate that she has the best signing story yet.
As hinted, it happened in Sydney. Handed a book, she asked, "Shall I write someone's name in it?" Came the reply, "Emma Chisit," so that is what she wrote, "To Emma Chisit, with best wishes."
"No!" exclaimed the customer. "Emma Chisit?"
"Twenty-three shillings," was the proper answer.