Mantel favourite on 'perfect' Booker shortlist

<p>This year&#39;s Man Booker Prize shortlist has been described as &quot;an almost perfect mix&quot; of literary greats and unsung talent, with bookshops likely to have &quot;something very commercial and entertaining&quot; to promote when the winner is announced in October.</p><p>Foyles&#39; Jonathan Ruppin said booksellers would be pleased to see established authors on the list: &quot;For bookshops, winners with a few books under their belt already tend to be better for sales: this gets people buying more books by that author and, we hope, encourages them to start exploring beyond the bestsellers at the front of the shop.&quot;<br /><br />Janine Cook, fiction buyer for Waterstone&#39;s, told the <em>Times:</em> &quot;This years shortlist is an almost perfect mix, with literary greats such as Byatt sitting alongside new and unsung talent such as Mawer and Foulds. But Mantel&#39;s <em>Wolf Hall</em> is the standout work for me - a magnificent piece of writing and an incredible literary achievement which to my mind deserves to win.&quot;<br /><br />Mantel is continuing to make the running as the odds-on favourite, with Ladbrokes and William Hill confirming the view held before the shortlist was unveiled earlier today (8th September). Ladbrokes spokesman Nick Weinberg said: &quot;There&rsquo;s only one novel in town as far as punters are concerned. Mantel has attracted more money than the rest of the field combined.&quot; Ladbrokes has Mantel as 2/1 on to win the prize. J M Coetzee and Sarah Waters are available at 5/1.<br /><br />William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe has made the book 4/5 favourite, and said that it now seemed certain to be the &quot;worst ever result for bookies if it goes on to win, costing us well into six figures. So I have made it the hottest favourite ever&quot;.</p>