Sceptre has won a six-way auction to acquire a debut novel described as "impressive" and "haunting" by the publisher, The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane.
Publishing director Carole Welch bought British Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada and ANZ, in the novel, as well as a collection of McFarlane's short stories, from Stephanie Cabot at the Gernert Agency.
Sceptre will publish The Night Guest in spring 2014, describing it as: "As gripping as a Hitchcock film, heart-wrenching and outstandingly well written, The Night Guest tells the tale of a vulnerable widow, a scam and a psychological dance to the death."
Welch said: "This is one of the most impressive, haunting debuts I've read in years and one which very much speaks to our times, when people can often be isolated from family and friends and have to put their trust in strangers. Fiona McFarlane at once keeps us on the edge of our seats with mounting dread and holds a mirror up to ourselves and the way we live now."