Headline is among publishers hoping to emulate the success of Christmas bestseller the GCHQ Puzzle Book (Michael Joseph) after commissioning Bletchley Park Brain Teasers, a book of puzzles supported by Bletchley Park, home of Britain's codebreakers during World War Two.
The book, due to publish in trade paperback on 19th October in time for the Christmas market, was inspired by Bletchley Park recruiters' search for top-level code breakers, drawing on the tests they would have used - hidden codes, crosswords, secret languages, complex riddles - as well as the "fascinating recruitment stories that surround them".
Publishing Director Sarah Emsley, who commissioned writer, historian and Bletchley Park expert Sinclair McKay to write the book, acquired world rights through Anna Power at Johnson & Alcock.
It follows the success of 2016 hit, the GCHQ Puzzle Book (Michael Joseph), which has sold 260,304 copies for £2.36m to date through Nielsen BookScan and had retailers scrambling for stock last Christmas. It also appears to have prompted another book of the same ilk from Boxtree called Spy School: Train Your Memory Like a KGB Agent. Boxtree's book of puzzles, test tricks and brain hacks are the same that produced "the most skillful spies the world has ever seen", according to Boxtree, and is due out this November, priced £9.99.
Commenting on Headline's Bletchley Park Brain Teasers, Emsley said: "Having approached Sinclair with the germ of this idea I could not be more thrilled with how he has developed it. Through meticulous research and the love of a good puzzle he has put together a fascinating, entertaining and mind-bending selection of mental agility tests, riddles, stories and enigmas that will be loved by Bletchley Park fans and puzzle addicts alike."
McKay added: "It’s been a personal delight to explore the codebreakers’ compulsive puzzle habits – from debutantes and mathematicians tussling over The Times crossword to Brigadier Tiltman’s off-duty efforts to unravel the creepily mysterious Voynich Manuscript. Unlike these ungovernable geniuses, my own puzzle-solving technique is of the lip-chewing, deep-frown, hours-spent-staring-into-space-not-getting-it variety. But that is part of the fun too…"
Bletchley Park Brain Teasers will publish with the support of Bletchley Park. Sarah Armond, head of communications at Bletchley Park, said: "There's an enduring fascination with the code breakers who worked at Bletchley Park and achieved so much in such difficult circumstances. We are sure that many of our visitors will jump at the chance to pit their wits against these puzzles and learn more about the great minds who worked here."