Silversmith tale to Simon & Schuster

A debut historical novel about the murder of a silversmith in 18th-century London has been snapped up by Simon & Schuster.

The Silversmith’s Wife is written by library administrator Sophia Tobin and her novel, described as “a compelling story of love and intrigue that transcends the period”, was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize, judged by author Sophie Hannah and professor Janet Todd.

S&S senior commissioning editor Clare Hey bought UK and Commonwealth rights to the book and another as-yet-untitled historical novel at auction in a deal with Jane Finigan at Lutyens & Rubinstein.

Hey said: “I am thrilled to be publishing The Silversmith’s Wife and delighted to welcome such a talented author as Sophia to the S&S list. She has not only brought 18th-century London vividly to life, but she has also written a compelling story of love and intrigue that transcends the period and feels wholly relevant and compelling to a modern reader.”

Tobin used to be a Bond Street antique dealer specialising in silver and jewellery and her research into a real-life 18th-century silversmith inspired her to write the novel. Set in 1792 in London’s Berkeley Square, it centres around a silversmith found lying dead, his throat cut and his valuables missing. At the heart of the story is his wife Mary who seems like she has something to hide.

Finigan said: “I knew from the moment I started reading the manuscript that there was something special about The Silversmith’s Wife. Sophia Tobin is a writer of exceptional talent and I believe this debut will mark the start of a very exciting career for her.”