Mantel favourite to win Booker

<p>Hilary Mantel has been declared the favourite to win the Man Booker Prize for Fiction after 95% of bets have been placed on her novel, <em>Wolf Hall</em> (Fourth Estate) alone.</p><p>After a spate of betting, her novel has been placed at 2/1 to win, followed by Colm Toibin&#39;s <em>Brooklyn </em>and Sarah Waters&#39; <em>The Little Stranger</em>, both at 4/1.</p><p>Bookmakers William Hill said it had &ldquo;never seen a betting pattern like it&rdquo;. &quot;It&#39;s almost like an unspoken psychic rumour has gone round that this will be Hilary Mantel&#39;s year,&quot; spokesman Graham Sharpe said to the <em>Independent</em>. &quot;We&#39;ll lose a five-figure sum if the support continues. It is as though a tip has gone around the literary world telling everyone that Mantel is a certainty.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s built up a head of steam very early on.&quot;<br /><br />&quot;Quite a lot of them (people placing the bets) are what we would describe as literary insiders,&quot; he added, but ruled out the notion of any foul play: &quot;It would be unusual for the judges to know who they were picking as the eventual winner already. I would be very, very surprised if the judges had already decided.&quot;<br /><br />William Hill&#39;s latest 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction odds are:<br /><br />2/1 Hilary Mantel <em>Wolf Hall</em>;<br /><br />4/1 Colm Toibin - <em>Brooklyn</em>;<br /><br />4/1 Sarah Waters <em>The Little Stranger</em>;<br /><br />6/1 J M Coetzee <em>Summertime</em>;<br /><br />6/1 James Lever <em>Me Cheeta</em>;</p><p>10/1 A S Byatt <em>The Children&#39;s Book;</em><br /><br />12/1 William Trevor <em>Love and Summer;</em><br /><br />14/1 Ed O&#39;Loughlin <em>Not Untrue &amp; Not Unkind</em>;<br /><br />14/1 Simon Mawer <em>The Glass Room</em>;<br /><br />16/1 Adam Foulds <em>The Quickening Maze</em>,</p><p>16/1 Sarah Hall <em>How to Paint a Dead Man</em>,<br /><br />16/1 Samantha Harvey<em> The Wilderness</em>;<br /><br />16/1 James Scudamore <em>Heliopolis</em><br />&nbsp;</p>