Scottish indie Sandstone Press will publish novel Phosphate Rocks: A Death in Ten Objects by Fiona Erskine.
Managing director Robert Davidson acquired world English language rights direct from the author. Publication is scheduled for summer 2021.
Phosphate Rocks: A Death in Ten Objects is centred around the demolition of a fertiliser factory in Edinburgh, where a mummified corpse—encased in phosphate rock—is discovered surrounded by 10 mysterious objects.
Davidson said: "I started smiling right at the start of Phosphate Rocks and found I was still smiling at the end, a single sitting. Phosphate Rocks mourns the passing of an important British industry and appreciates the men and women who made it work. It is bigger than that though, it gives us the science and the history with the immediacy of fiction and the veracity of testimony."
Erskine commented: "As a female engineer starting work in the 1980s, I became acutely aware of entrenched structures in heavy industry and the pain of change. This is a project that has been close to my heart for many years, and I’m delighted that it has found a safe harbour with Sandstone Press."
Erskine's first two novels, The Chemical Detective and The Chemical Reaction, were published by Point Blank in 2019 and 2020 respectively.