Saturday 31 May 2014

Nicola Upson on The Death of Lucy Kyte

Today’s guest blog is by Nicola Upson who was born in Suffolk and read English at Downing College, Cambridge. Her debut novel, An Expert in Murder, was the first in a series of crime novels whose main character is Josephine Tey - one of the leading authors of Britain's Golden Age of crime writing. An Expert in Murder was dramatised by BBC Scotland for Woman’s Hour.

The Red Barn Murder - the killing of Maria Marten by her lover, William Corder, in May 1827 - is the first true crime I was ever aware of. As a child, I remember summer days out in the Suffolk village where the murder took place, walking past Marias house or Williams, fascinated by what had happened there and by the real people behind the legend. I lived in Bury St Edmunds, the town where Corder was hanged, and every weekend I passed the Gaol where the execution took place on the way to my grandmothers house. So its no surprise that the story made such an impact on me, and I realised when I sat down to begin the fifth novel in my ‘Josephine Tey’ series that Ive always wanted to find a different way to tell it. Tey had Suffolk ancestry, and we know from her work that she was fascinated by true crimes from the past - The Franchise Affair and The Daughter of Time are both based on historical cases - so I felt she would have loved the facts and the mythologies that circle around the Red Barn Murder, too. The challenge was to make the story fresh again, because the case is so well known. At the time, it attracted extraordinary media attention and its been a popular subject for books, plays and films ever since. I wanted the novel to question some of the stereotypes of the story that have lived on, whilst avoiding the temptation to re-write history by giving the crime too modern a spin or forcing some of my own attitudes onto the characters.

As The Death of Lucy Kyte took shape, I found that the least interesting thing for me about Maria Marten is who killed her. Solving puzzles is at the heart of detective fiction and its human nature to want to get to the truth, to look for a new revelation in an old crime, to find a miscarriage of justice and right it if possible. Several books have created alternative scenarios to Corders guilt, suggesting that Marias stepmother knew more than she admitted, or that others were somehow involved in Marias death. As a crime writer, these theories interest me, even though Im still convinced that she died at Corders hand. But as a woman, I wanted to know more about Maria and her life, to understand the situation she found herself in and the circumstances that gave her no choice but to walk with a man she no longer loved to the Red Barn on that fateful day in May. Strip away the bonnets and the ballads, and you’re left with a timeless story of a woman we all recognise.

Ironically, perhaps, thats what I felt hadnt been explored - Maria Marten, and who she really was. History offers us very limited versions of her, each a variation on the theme of victim or whore. The woman we think we know, handed down to us through films and melodrama, is not the woman who walked the fields of Polstead. She wasnt the innocent maiden any more than William Corder was the wicked squire - three illegitimate children by different fathers testify to that - but the reality is more fascinating than the stereotype; she was a good mother by all accounts, well-educated, interesting and fun to be with, a woman who made mistakes and tried to put them right, someone you and I might know from our circle of friends - but you have to look very hard to find that living, breathing person. The real Maria Marten faded from sight in the aftermath of her death and is now forever lost to us. Her name - originally spelt Martin - has been changed by history, and the portrait sold in the streets of Bury on the eve of Corders execution was actually drawn from a likeness of her sister. Even Marias face, as we know it, is a lie.

And that still happens: a few miles from where Maria died and nearly two centuries later, Steve Wright murdered five Suffolk women; the case was a national sensation but I doubt that many people now, less than ten years after it happened, could name each one of his victims or bring their faces to mind. How many of us could list the Yorkshire Rippers victims, or Christies, or Ted Bundy's? Anonymity and distortion are too often the fate of a woman who is murdered: we lose sight of her life in the shock of her death; over time, her identity is lost until she exists only in the shadow of our fascination with her killer. I wanted to bring Maria Marten back into focus in this book, to give her loss a human face and voice. In fiction, as in life, there’s much more to crime than a puzzle and a solution.

The Death of Lucy Kyte by Nicola Upson is out now in paperback, £7.99 (Faber & Faber)

More information about Nicola Upson and her work can be found on her website. She can also be found on Facebook and you can also follow her on Twitter @nicolaupsonbook.

Friday 30 May 2014

Stephen King is back with Mr Mercedes

Thursday 29 May 2014, marked the official countdown to publication for No. 1 bestselling writer Stephen King’s new novel, MR MERCEDES, which publishes on 3 June 2014, and the launch of an innovative digital content campaign. MR MERCEDES is a riveting cat-and-mouse thriller from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of an obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.
Hodder & Stoughton publishers have worked with the agency The Upside, which has devised a creative strategy highlighting the fabulous breadth of Stephen King's storytelling. The idea is simple: have some of King’s classic characters come to life to introduce his new book and thereby increase the audience beyond his typical fan base. The concept is executed by the director-animator Andrew Griffin.
Five mini animations of 15" have been created, each featuring a different character from one of King's celebrated books.  Each will reveal more about Mr Mercedes, the eponymous character in King's memorable new novel.
The videos will be released via, in the five days leading up to publication.
On publication day, 3 June 2014, the animations will be edited and released as one long introduction to the novel, with a fresh scene revealing Mr Mercedes himself to readers. 
The campaign was launched at 10am this morning with media partner The Telegraph.  After the launch it will then be seeded across Stephen King’s own online estate, before distributing wider.
For further information about the digital campaign specifically, please contact Ellen Wood at
For further information about The Upside please contact Sam Reid at

From the No. 1 Bestselling Writer
‘Who is going to be the fish in this relationship, and who is going to be the fisherman?’
Bill Hodges:  retired cop.
Brady Hartsfield:  the criminal whose case Hodges never solved.
Now each is closing in on the other once more in a mega-stakes, high suspense race against time from worldwide bestselling writer Stephen King.
‘King’s gift of storytelling is unrivalled’ George Pelecanos

Retired homicide detective Bill Hodges is haunted by the few cases he left open, and by one in particular:  in the pre-dawn hours, hundreds of desperate unemployed people were lined up for a spot at a job fair in the distressed Midwestern city where he worked. Without warning, a lone driver ploughed through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes. Eight people were killed, fifteen wounded. The killer escaped.
Months later, on the other side of the city, Bill Hodges gets a taunting letter in the mail, from a man claiming to be the perpetrator. Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on hunting him down.
Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. And he is preparing to kill again.
Hodges, with a couple of misfit friends, must apprehend the killer in a high-stakes race against time. Because Brady's next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim hundreds, even thousands.
Publication of the hardcover, audio digital download and eBook will be on 3 June,  2014

Copyright (c) Shane Leonard
STEPHEN KING is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His titles include Carrie, 11.22.63 and Doctor Sleep.  Many of his books have been turned into celebrated films and television series including Under the Dome, The Shawshank Redemption and Misery.
KING was the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and in 2007 won the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife Tabitha King, in Maine.

For further information on Stephen King, please contact Kerry Hood on 020 7873 6173 or at


Wednesday 28 May 2014

Breaking News !!! Gillian Flynn, author of the #1 Bestseller Gone Girl, to retell Hamlet for the Hogarth Shakespeare

UK Contact: Lisa Gooding
+44 (0) 20 7840 8677

US Contact: Annsley Rosner
001 212 782 9740

Gillian Flynn, author of the critically acclaimed, multi-million copy bestseller Gone Girl, will write a novel based on Hamlet for the Hogarth Shakespeare series, a major international publishing initiative across the Penguin Random House Group that presents retellings of Shakespeare for contemporary readers by some of today’s best-known international writers.
One of the most influential plays in literature, Hamlet is also Shakespeare’s darkest psychological tragedy. Flynn says, ‘Hamlet has long been a fascination of mine: murder, betrayal, revenge, deceit, madness ‒ all my favorite things. Add to that some of Shakespeare’s most intriguing, curious characters ‒ from the titular brooding prince to rueful Ophelia ‒ and what (slightly cheeky) writer wouldn’t be tempted to reimagine it?’
Flynn joins an illustrious line-up of novelists on the Hogarth Shakespeare list: Margaret Atwood has chosen The Tempest, Tracy Chevalier Othello, Howard Jacobson The Merchant of Venice, Jo Nesbo Macbeth, Anne Tyler The Taming of the Shrew and Jeanette Winterson The Winter’s Tale. The series, led by Hogarth UK in partnership with Hogarth US, will launch to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016. A publication date for Flynn’s contribution to the series has not yet been announced.
Becky Hardie, Deputy Publishing Director, Chatto & Windus/Hogarth (UK) and Alexis Washam, Senior Editor, Hogarth (US) and Crown, acquired world rights in all languages from Stephanie Kip Rostan of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency, Inc. 
Gillian Flynn, whose novels are published in the UK by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, is also the author of Sharp Objects and Dark Places. Flynn has received two CWA Daggers and was also shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for her first novel Sharp Objects. Gone Girl, her third novel, was published in 2012 and, since then, has sold nearly 6.5 million copies internationally across all formats. The book was a #1 Sunday Times bestseller and remained in the top ten for 26 consecutive weeks.
In October 2014, Gone Girl will debut on the big screen as a major motion picture produced by 20th Century Fox, directed by David Fincher (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club), starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Emily Ratajkowski and Sela Ward. Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay. Film rights to Sharp Objects and Dark Places, both of which are currently on the New York Times paperback trade fiction bestseller list, have also been sold. Dark Places, starring Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, will debut in 2015.
Flynn’s work has been published in 40 languages. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, she lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
Please direct all translation rights queries to Monique Corless, Senior Foreign Rights Manager, Vintage Publishing:

Note to Editors:
About Hogarth
In 1917 Virginia and Leonard Woolf started The Hogarth Press from their Richmond home, Hogarth House, armed only with a hand-press and a determination to publish the newest, most inspiring writing. It went on to publish some of the twentieth century’s most significant writers, joining forces with Chatto & Windus in 1946.

Inspired by their example, Hogarth was launched in 2012 as a home for a new generation of literary talent; an adventurous fiction imprint with an accent on the pleasures of storytelling and a keen awareness of the world. Hogarth is a partnership between Chatto & Windus in the UK and Crown in the US, and its novels are published from London and New York.
Hogarth has enjoyed notable international success with Shani Boianjiu’s debut novel, The People of Forever Are Not Afraid, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the UK, and the New York Times bestseller A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, which has won an array of awards and prizes, including the John Leonard Prize, established in 2014 by the National Book Critics Circle to recognise outstanding first books in any genre, the Barnes & Noble 2013 Discover Award and the 2012 Whiting Award. In the US, Hogarth has also had significant success with the New York Times bestseller The Dinner by Herman Koch.
About The Hogarth Shakespeare
The Hogarth Shakespeare programme will launch to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016. This international publishing initiative is led by Hogarth UK and published in partnership with Hogarth US, Knopf Canada, Knaus Verlag in Germany; Lumen in Spain; ISBN/Il Saggiatore in Italy; Modtryk in Denmark; and Random House Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. The novels will be published simultaneously across the English-speaking world in print, digital and audio formats.

The concept of The Hogarth Shakespeare was devised by Juliet Brooke, Senior Editor at Chatto & Windus/Hogarth and Becky Hardie, Deputy Publishing Director. With Clara Farmer, Publishing Director, they comprise the UK publishing team.

The US publishing team are Molly Stern, Senior Vice President, Publisher, Crown Publishers; and Alexis Washam, Senior Editor, Hogarth (US) and Crown. The series will be published in Canada by Louise Dennys, Executive Publisher, Random House of Canada Limited; in Germany by Claudia Vidoni of Knaus Verlag; in Spain by Silvia Querini of Lumen; in Italy by Massimo Coppola, Publisher and Editorial Director of ISBN/Il Saggiatore; and in Denmark by Nanna Knudsen, Editor-in-Chief of Modtryk.
All translation rights queries should be directed to Monique Corless, Senior Foreign Rights Manager, Vintage Publishing:
About Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House ( is the world’s first truly global trade book publisher. It was formed on 1 July, 2013, upon the completion of an agreement between Bertelsmann and Pearson to merge their respective trade publishing companies, Random House and Penguin, with the parent companies owning 53% and 47%, respectively. Penguin Random House comprises the adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses of Penguin and Random House in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India, Penguin’s trade publishing activity in Asia and South Africa; Dorling Kindersley worldwide; and Random House’s companies in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile. Penguin Random House employs more than 10,000 people globally across almost 250 editorially and creatively independent imprints and publishing houses that collectively publish more than 15,000 new titles annually. Its publishing lists include more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.

Books to Look Forward to from Orion

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