Monday, July 20, 2009

Murder at Mansfield Park (publishing deal)

From The Bookseller:

The deal for Murder at Mansfield Park, by Lynn Shepherd, was negotiated via Ben Mason at the Conville Walsh Agency for an undisclosed sum. The title will be published as a B-format paperback next April, and will include reading group discussion points.

In contrast with the original story, the character Fanny Price is "ambitious, scheming and relentlessly focused", while Mary Crawford "suffers great indignities from her mean neighbour". Shepherd explained: "What intrigues me about Mansfield Park is how unlike Jane Austen it actually is. One of the reasons so many readers are dissatisfied with the novel Austen did write is that they find her heroine at best insipid, and at worst, downright irritating."

Simon Petherick, managing director of Beautiful Books, described the book as "fantastic" and "tremendous fun". He added: "The really good thing about it is that linguistically, it's very accurate, and she picks up on all the key themes that appeared in the original . . . But whereas Fanny is quite a pain in the arse in Austen's version, Lynn's Fanny is an outrageous gold-digger."

When a murder takes place, mid-way through the story, the novel turns into a "literary version of Agatha Christie." Petherick said: "You cannot work out which character would, or could, commit the murder – everyone who has read it so far has failed to guess who did it."

Read the rest of the article here.

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