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'Chocolat,' 'Mary, Mary,' Get Six Figures
Judy Quinn -- 10/27/97
While Frankfurt this year was more an opportunity to consider pitched books and go home to discuss and decide, a few deals of interest were concluded there. Viking editor Barbara Grossman was the winning bidder for British author Joanne Harris's Chocolat, a literary and magic realism tale about a woman setting up a French chocolate shop. Grossman reportedly paid $165,000 for this and another book by Harris from U.K. publisher Transworld, which had bought world English rights.
Macmillan U.K. tried to build up buzz for Mary, Mary, a first novel by Irish TV talk show producer Julie Parsons; the hype is that this is the finest debut since -- you guessed it -- The Horse Whisperer. Turns out the auction here had only two bidders, with $125,000-floor-holder S&S topping underbidder HarperCollins and acquiring the book for about $150,000. S&S players in the deal were Alice Mayhew, who saw the manuscript before the fair, and new S&S publisher David Rosenthal. Mary, Mary is a thriller about a psychiatrist who pursues revenge on a serial killer who murdered her daughter.
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