Three-book mystery deal for Simon and Schuster

Rights - Fiction Friday, 17th March 2017

Simon and Schuster UK acquires mysteries series; authors are bestselling novelist Juliet Ashton and husband; described as Midsomer Murders meets Agatha Christie

Simon & Schuster UK has acquired three books by debut novelist MB Vincent, to launch the 'Jess Castle Mysteries' in Autumn 2018. Jo Dickinson, publishing director of fiction and audio, acquired World rights.

MB Vincent is the pseudonym for bestselling novelist Juliet Ashton and her husband, Matthew, a composer.

According to the acquisition statement: 'Welcome to Castle Kidbury. A pretty town in a green West Country valley, it’s scenic and bustling. A microcosm of the wider world, it’s home to all sorts of people, with all the stresses and joys of modern life, but with a floral clock and a proper butcher’s. It also has, for our purposes, a rash of gory murders...'

'Book One introduces academic-turned-detective Jess Castle, who has been forced to return home to her father in Castle Kidbury under a cloud of shame. But her arrival coincides with a horrific murder, and she is thrown headlong into the middle of the mystery.'

MB Vincent said: "Imagine the perfect English town. Cricket on the green. Real ale in the pub. A disembowelled corpse in the market square. The world of Jess Castle has been taking shape at the back of our minds for years now, and it's exciting for her to suddenly spring to life with Simon & Schuster her perfect publishing partner."

Dickinson said: "I loved the premise for this series and the writing had me gripped from page one. The Jess Castle Mysteries should appeal to readers of MC Beaton or Agatha Christie, or anyone who has watched Midsomer Murders, but it also has a strong modernity to it, which gives it an added edge, plus great humour and a very memorable lead character. We will publish a book a year and we can’t wait to get started."