Book worm

PRIVATE SATIRISE

IT'S RARE to find publishers satirising their authors, but that seems to be exactly what Canongate is planning to do in the autumn when they release The Global No 2 Detective by Toby Clements, a not-so-subtle spoof of Alexander McCall Smith's No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.

Canongate publisher Jamie Byng is known not to be a great fan of McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe adventures, which have gone on to sell more than ten million copies in the years since he turned down the first book in the best-selling series.

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If he's still kicking himself for that, it hasn't stopped him asking McCall Smith to write three other books for him, the last of which - Dream Angus - is scheduled to be published in October as part of Canongate's Myths series. Since this is just a month before publication of the Clements spoof that Byng signed up earlier this month at the London Book Fair, McCall Smith could easily be forgiven for not bothering to finish it.

AN AGENT SCORES

ONE-TIME Canongate marketing boss Mark Stanton is rapidly carving out a name for himself as one of the sharpest literary agents around.

First, he wins a 250,000 three-book deal from Weidenfeld & Nicolson for a book his former company rejected, 59-year-old Northumbrian writer Paul Torday's debut novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

Now he's followed that by persuading Random House to sign up Scotsman columnist and Scotland on Sunday feature writer Aidan Smith to write a book about being a passionate Scotland football fan following England in the World Cup this summer.

One slight problem here - and a rare request from a Scottish newspaper: has anybody got any tickets they don't want to see the Auld Enemy in Germany?