Usborne has acquired two more titles from middle-grade historical mystery writer A M Howell, author of The Garden of Lost Secrets and The House of One Hundred Clocks, which were published by Usborne in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Rebecca Hill, editorial fiction director, and Becky Walker, commissioning fiction editor, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Clare Wallace at Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency. The Mystery of the Night Watchers will publish in July 2021, with Howell’s fourth book to follow in 2022.
The Mystery of the Night Watchers is billed as a "gripping new adventure filled with buried secrets and dark lies, set against the evocative backdrop of the Edwardian era and inspired, like Howell’s previous books, by a real-life historical event and setting."
Set in 1910 when a comet is drawing closer to the earth, the title will follow Nancy who is uprooted to start a new life in Suffolk with a grandfather she has never met. Nancy is forbidden from leaving her grandfather's house and discovers its secret observatory. As the mysteries begin to pile up Nancy must bring dark secrets from the past to light—even if doing so will put her own life at risk.
Walker said: "It has been wonderful to see A M Howell’s first two books win awards, critical acclaim and abundant fans since publishing, and we are delighted to be working on two new heart-pounding, atmospheric mysteries with her. Ann-Marie has such a talent for bringing the past to life, finding inspiration in the stories around her, and we are hugely exciting to see Ann-Marie cement herself as one of the leading middle-grade historical voices writing today."
Howell commented: "I’m thrilled to be working with Usborne and my fabulous editors, Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker, on two further historical middle-grade titles. Again, these are inspired by the people, places and history in the beautiful East of England with mysteries and twists galore to keep readers guessing to the very end! The Mystery of the Night Watchers is set in my hometown of Bury St Edmunds and was inspired by the 17th-century Cupola House and it’s incredible roof top observatory. The support I’ve had from Usborne and my readers, and from booksellers, teachers, librarians and the media across East Anglia and beyond has been phenomenal, and I feel incredibly lucky to have found the perfect home for my stories."