The Missing Clue - February 2017 - Murder and Publishing by Wendy

One of the advantages of owning a book store is getting what are called ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies) In box that recently arrived there was a copy of a new book by Judith Flanders. One of my favorite books of 2016 was her A Murder of Magpies, the first title in a series set in a small publishing house based in London. Judith Flanders was born in England but grew up in Montreal. After university, she worked for 17 years as an editor in various UK publishing houses. Before venturing into fiction, she wrote a number of nonfiction books, including the 2011, The Invention of Murder. The subtitle of which was ‘How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Invented Modern Crime’. The main character in A Murder of Magpies, Sam Clair, is an editor. The character is believable and obviously the setting rings true. There are two further titles in the series, A Bed of Scorpions, (tp $22.99 due February 7th) and A Cast of Vultures (hc $36.99 due February 21st). If I have not tried to sell you A Murder of Magpies please think of trying it and if I have sold it to you A Bed of Scorpions is arriving imminently.

I went on to think about other titles that were set in publishing. P.D. James set Original Sin in the headquarters of the Peverell Press an old established publishing house. The offices are housed in a nineteenth century mock Venetian palace which is set on the banks of the River Thames in Wapping, London. Adam Dalgliesh works his usual magic to ferret out the murderer. We have a copy in used mass market (at time of press).

Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) also ventured into publishing in the second Cormoran Strike novel, Silkworm. It soon becomes clear to Cormoran Strike that what starts off as a bread and butter missing persons case, (missing author, worried wife, but he has done this before), is not straightforward. The author Owen Quine has just submitted a manuscript to his publishers which is full of less than charitable, easily recognizable portraits of people he knows. The publication of which is bound to cause mayhem if not worse. The discovery of Quine’s body leads Cormoran Strike into another murder investigation. I have really liked this series and hope that there will be another title soon. There have been rumours that one is coming but no definite date or title yet. We have the mass market in new in stock.

Another British series set in a publishing house is written by Julie Kaewert. The Plumtree Press is another well-established publishing house based in London. In Unsolicited, the first title in the series, the press is struggling to stay afloat but is about to publish what seems to be going to be a worldwide blockbuster. Unfortunately, the author goes missing with the last five chapters and a critic previewing the novel suggests that this is not fiction at all...It is left to Alex Plumtree, the present head of the company to sort it all out. There are six titles in this series and we have book #4 Untitled in new mass market and book #5 Unsigned in new and used mass market.

The main character in Barbara Rogan’s A Dangerous Fiction, (tp$17) is Jo Donovan a literary agent. Donovan is the senior partner is a prestigious New York literary agency as well as the widow of a famous American writer, Hugo Donovan. A disgruntled would be author begins to stalk Jo and then some of her authors, when added to an about to be published tell all, unauthorized biography of her dead husband and jealousies and rivalries in the company, our heroine has her hands full. We have A Dangerous Fiction in stock in new trade paperback.

Set in California, Marlys Millhiser’s main character is literary agent Charlie Green. Not all the titles in this series are involved with authors or publishing but they do provide a backdrop to the busy detecting life of this amateur sleuth mom. We have book #2, Death of the Office Witch, and book #3, Murder in a Hot Flash, in used mass market.