It all began in 1949 with a letter enquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84 Charing Cross Road, London. As Helene's warm and witty letters gradually break down the reserve of bookseller Frank Doel, a friendship across the miles flourishes, lasting twenty years. No doubt it would have continued, but in 1969 the firm's secretary wrote to let Helene know of Frank's death. 'If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road', Helene later writes to a London-bound friend, 'kiss it for me. I owe it so much.'