Picador is to publish an “extraordinarily gripping” debut novel by former Faber editor Kate Murray-Browne.
Picador editorial director Francesca Main acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to The Upstairs Room from Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit.
The plot tells the story of Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters who recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill. Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial 27-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners – including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.
Francesca Main said: “The Upstairs Room had me reading late into the night. It’s an addictive novel, full of pin-sharp observations, unexpected twists, wry humour and a pervasive sense of dread – a ghost story for the contemporary housing crisis and a timely depiction of the pressures of our age. I’m thrilled to be working with Kate Murray-Browne and can’t wait for readers to discover her electrifying first novel.”
Murray-Browne studied English at Cambridge University and worked in publishing for 10 years before becoming a freelance editor.
Picador will publish The Upstairs Room in hardback in August 2017.