Aitken Alexander has announced the death of literary agent Brian Stone, at the age of 82, who had been suffering from dementia for many years.
Clare Alexander paid tribute to the "wonderfully entertaining" Stone and said he was "one of the smartest agents around". Stone, who passed away on 12th June, was the earliest business partner of the late Gillon Aitken.
In an obituary posted on the agency’s website, she said: “The last time I saw him, he thought we were at the Frankfurt Book Fair. He had loved the Frankfurt Book Fair, so it made him very happy to be back.”
In 1985, Aitken and Stone, old school friends and colleagues at Hamish Hamilton, acquired the Hughes Massie Agency, described by Alexander as "a brilliant coup".
Aitken, who had founded his agency nine years earlier, focused on building a literary list while Stone managed estates for Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Mary Norton and Paul Gallico. He also managed UK rights for Harper Lee and J D Salinger and was the agent for writers including Susan Howatch and Catherine Aird.
Alexander wrote: "The two men were unmistakable and – together or individually - they always cut quite a dash. They were both unusually tall and elegant, and were inveterate smokers.
"Brian was a great gossip and wonderfully entertaining - he was the perfect lunchtime companion and was mostly to be found at La Famiglia in Chelsea where he had his own table and where his photo is still to be seen on the wall. You could always tell if he was there because of his characteristic gales of loud laughter from the corner. But underneath all the fun, he was actually one of the smartest agents around."
Stone is survived by his husband, Neil.