Pssst. Want to know what's hot in Hong Kong's bookstores at the moment? Well, sure, the John Grisham novels are continuing to shift, but the real movers in book sales are - wait for it - insolvency texts. Lai See paid a visit to the Professional Bookshop in Alexandra House yesterday - regarded as the mecca of legal literature in the SAR - and discovered empty shelf space where liquidation texts were meant to be. Business development manager Matt Steele confirmed that insolvency is all the rage: 'Since Christmas, books on liquidations have been going pretty quickly.' And the stand-out volumes? Apparently, there are two. Mr Steele told us one is the bible of the insolvency expert, Pennington's Corporate Insolvency Law, while the other is a hot little number titled Loose on Liquidators. Perhaps our intrepid book-buyers were looking for an insomnia cure during the frigid winter nights. Mr Steele informs us it's not only insolvency tomes that are the focus of book browsers' interest. Books on listing rules, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) also had registered big sales. There is a downside: overall demand outside of these 'hot' items had been subdued during the ongoing gloomfest. 'A lot of the time, people are tending to browse, rather than buy,' he said. The British Chamber of Commerce has given its members a bit of a scolding ahead of today's luncheon address by British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook that it is sponsoring. A memo put out this week shows the chamber is a little put out by its membership's reaction to the lunch so far. The memo states that the level of representation is 'a touch disappointing'. 'While the pressure on your schedules is fully appreciated, we would ask you to look to see if you could attend or ensure that your company is appropriately represented at this important luncheon,' chamber boss Christopher Hammerbeck is quoted as saying. He goes on to point out that the British business community should be 'seen to be concerned about the policies of Her Majesty's Government, especially since they may have an impact on our business for some considerable time to come.' And remember to sit up straight while Mr Cook is talking, lads. News is starting to filter through about some hard partying at Jardine Fleming's annual bash last weekend. While we're told the budget for the big event was cut in half this year - in line with the economic times - it was not enough to stop those wacky bankers unshackling themselves for an evening. Apparently, the star of the show was one John Donald, the group's head of research - who danced and sang his way through some 60s and 70s rock classics with immense fluency. There is absolutely no truth to the rumour that his medley included the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive - although we hear some of his songs did contain references to the economic malaise. There also was a glittering performance from Jardine Fleming elder statesman Alan Murray who, all done up in glitter, apparently brought down the house with an Elvis Presley classic. All Shook Up, perhaps? The saga of the Peregrine Rugby Sevens merchandise rumbles on, with legal considerations now complicating the future of the jumpers, balls and other gear. The executive director of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, Alan Payne, told us yesterday: 'There could be a problem for us in selling some of the gear if part of Peregrine continues to trade.' Sevens merchandise manufacturers had given the HKRFU options for eliminating risk, including reweaving the Peregrine logos on some of the gear. Still, this would not be possible on some of the gear, leaving open the option suggested in this column on Monday of donating some merchandise to earthquake victims in Hebei province. 'That's a logical solution for any gear unable to be used,' Mr Payne said. There was a general air of smugness among Linus Cheung Wing-lam and his team at Hongkong Telecom Tower yesterday, despite the fact the telecommunications group was announcing it was about to become an ex-monopolist. Maybe it was all because the company had found a way to have its cake and eat it over the next year. As of yesterday, the company no longer has to pay royalties to the Government relating to its exclusive international licence (about $500 million a year), despite the fact effective competition will not commence until the beginning of 1999. Add in the fact that the company gets a $6.7 billion compensation payment for loss of the monopoly before this competition period even begins, and you get some idea why Mr Cheung found it hard to wipe the smile off his face yesterday.