Francine Toon, commissioning editor at Hodder & Stoughton imprint Sceptre, has pre-empted the debut novel Other People’s Clothes by Berlin-based American writer Calla Henkel.
Toon acquired world rights from Eleanor Birne at PEW, for the title to be published as Sceptre's lead debut novel in summer 2021.
Set in 2008, the thriller follows Zoe, an American art student who is trying to escape her past by spending a year in Berlin. Along with her new friend Hailey, she is renting a flat from an eccentric crime writer, Beatrice Becks. Soon strange things start happening and the girls are convinced that Beatrice has a way to watch them, to give her the plot for her next novel. The friends decide to construct their own dramatic narrative with parties and secrets, but their lives spiral out of control into much darker territory.
Toon commented: "Other People’s Clothes is the sort of novel I have dreamed of publishing: an intoxicating combination of dazzling prose and a heart-pumping plot that kept me hooked until the final page. Calla Henkel has crafted her debut with an ambition and a sleight of hand that wowed me. At Sceptre we are delighted to have Other People’s Clothes as our lead debut novel next summer, to be published with a bold, wide-reaching campaign that captures the spirit of Calla's prose."
Henkel added: "I am incredibly excited that Other People’s Clothes gets to meet the world through Sceptre at the bright editorial hand of Francine Toon. It’s clear that Francine truly understands the novel's twisted friendships and the backdrop of the youthful, glitter-gutted financial crisis of the aughts [2000s]. I couldn’t be happier for this vicious saga to find its home at Sceptre."
Other People's Clothes will be published in the UK in July 2021.