Julie Kaewert’s mysteries for booklovers (Unsolicited, Unbound, Unprintable, Untitled, Unsigned, and Uncatalogued, all from Bantam) have topped bestseller lists around the country. Her novels feature London publisher Alex Plumtree, a studious James Bond of the book world. Julie lived in London and worked for a book publisher and computing magazine before summoning the courage to try fiction.
So when a lead critic previews the book as a non-fiction expose, Alex is shocked. Even more so when the critic is murdered, and Alex finds himself the target of a ruthless hunt for the manuscript and bizarre attempts on his life.
Ducking newshounds, government officials, and the sniping of jealous publishers, Alex knows only one thing: If he can’t find Arthur and untangle the truth, his next season’s list may be a posthumous one.
Plumtree Press is about to launch a bombshell of a book, a fact-based novel about one of Britain’s most revered authors, Marcus Stonecypher, a member of Virgina Woolf’s Bloomsbury Group. Angela Mayfield’s shocking book reveals a series of explosive secret messages in Stonecypher’s own novels published at the turn of the century, messages that implicate him in secrets of publishers past, and a treacherous plot to topple the monarchy.
It soon becomes clear to publisher Alex Plumtree that someone will go to any length to keep Angela’s revelations from seeing print. But why, decades after the fact, should anyone care?
First come anonymous warnings, then, on the eve of publication, Alex’s library of precious first editions is vandalised. When deadly warnings and industrial sabotage imperil the book’s publication, Alex realizes he and his author have made some very powerful enemies. Then the Titles of Stonecypher’s books become actual events, and Alex finds himself threatened with censorship of the most permanent kind.
It is possibly the most repugnant piece of fiction in all of England. So why is Plumtree Press, one of the country’s most respectable publishing houses, about to add the hotly controversial new novel to its list? Publisher Alex Plumtree isn’t talking. So hardly anyone knows he has taken on the project as a favour to the Prime Minister.
Forget the bad press and hateful reviews. Alex swiftly finds himself on the wrong side of a lawsuit, bugged, betrayed, roughed up, and implicated in murder. Suddenly Alex doesn’t know who to trust. For someone is clearly determined to stop the presses at any cost. The only thing Alex does know for certain is that going to press with this book may cost him more than just his reputation; it may cost him his life.
Publisher Alex Plumtree is in for the most astounding week of his life. First he comes into possession of a rare, centuries-old book, rumoured destroyed on orders of King Edward IV. Then he receives an undreamed-of honour: an invitation to join a select society of book collectors, who are also some of the most powerful men and women in England.
But Alex’s triumph quickly turns sour. The book vanishes from Alex’s office. His initiation weekend with the Dibdin Club is rife with bizarre behaviour, appalling accidents, and a death that sends Alex reeling. He quickly begins to suspect that his valuable find is even more than it seemed on first glance. For hidden in its pages is a shocking secret that could change the history of books forever, as well as the face of the modern world. And there are people, and foreign powers, who would do anything to keep this secret from coming to light. All Alex has to do is figure out what that secret is, if he can stay alive long enough.
It was billed as the biggest literary event of the season. McKinley Montague, the handsome, enigmatic author of sensational serial-killer novels, was to make a rare book-signing appearance at the grand opening of London’s newest superbookstore. But the author never arrives. Word quickly spreads that Montague is dead, the victim of a mysterious boating accident.
Publisher Alex Plumtree is shocked by McKinley’s sudden passing, yet more disturbing is the encounter Alex has in a local coffee shop with a reporter that very night. First the scribe reveals he received a tip that McKinley’s own publishers had him murdered to boost his sales. Seconds later, a bullet shatters the café’s window, missing the pair by inches.
The shooting is only the first of many bizarre incidents, unexplained deaths, and troubling phone calls. And with his own life hanging in the balance, Alex wonders if McKinley’s demise was just the opening chapter in London’s deadliest literary season ever.
It promises to be the find of the century: documents by famed diarist Samuel Pepys rumoured to be in the U.S., which is where publisher Alex Plumtree and his fiancée, Sarah, are headed for his college reunion. Then bizarre things start to happen. A Royal accident imperils the succession and fiery violence rocks London, mimicking Pepys’s chronicles of seventeenth-century England.
Things get even more curious when the archivist who stumbled on the uncatalogued papers vanishes. Then a centuries-old scandal surfaces that could bring down the modern monarchy. Soon Alex begins to suspect that the diaries may not have been penned by Pepys after all, but by someone whose shocking actions may have altered the course of history.
Work in Progress: A prequel to the Plumtree series of mysteries for booklovers:
A prequel to the Plumtree series of mysteries for booklovers
The scrivener’s daughter has a secret; only she and her father, penman for King Charles II, know why she does not speak. But her silence is linked to a secret so ancient and shrouded in mystery that even Grace and her father have no inkling of its significance. Then the writing-master is seized by the King, setting in motion a terrifying series of events. Grace discovers that her imperfection is actually a gift, enabling her to perceive what others cannot, with profound consequences.
The novel’s rich atmosphere is woven from the art of calligraphy, the writing-masters community in Restoration London, Grace’s home in a disused Chapel on London Bridge, the Secret Cabal of Charles II’s reign, dangerous spies, secret underground waterways, an ancient encoded illuminated manuscript, the origin of the alphabet, an authentic Secret Treaty, and a daughter’s relationship with her father.
Other Works by Julie: