Serpent's Tail acquires 'scandalous' debut

Serpent's Tail acquires 'scandalous' debut

Serpent's Tail has acquired a debut novel it is billing as a "cross between Fingersmith and 'Ed Wood'."

Editor Rebecca Gray pre-empted world English-language rights to Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman from Antony Topping at Greene and Heaton.

The "Petite Mort" of the title is a silent French film from 1914, thought lost in Paris after a fire. The star, Alice Roux, became involved in a senational murder trial not long after the film. In 1967 a print is found, and young journalist Juliette must piece together the two stories while falling in love with a young film enthusiast.

Gray said: "Petite Mort is a cross between Fingersmith and 'Ed Wood'. It’s literary fiction with a great story, plenty of scandal and a pretty darn good twist at the end too. This is a wonderful novel full of intoxication, ruthless ambition and lies within lies."

Hitchman was born in London and has lived in Paris and the UK, where she has worked as a documentary film-maker. Serpent's Tail will publish Petite Mort in spring 2013.