cover image Who Is Maud Dixon?

Who Is Maud Dixon?

Alexandra Andrews. Little, Brown, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-50031-9

When aspiring novelist Florence Darrow, the protagonist of Andrews’s devilishly plotted debut, gets fired from her dogsbody job at a Manhattan publishing house, she faces the prospect that she might not be destined for greatness after all. Then fate intervenes—an offer to become the live-in writing assistant to a literary supernova who uses the pseudonym Maud Dixon. Initially, all goes swimmingly as Florence’s charismatic new boss—real name Helen Wilcox, and at 32 only a few years her senior—seems keen on mentoring Florence. But when the pair embark on a research trip to Morocco, things become considerably more complicated. Especially after Florence wakes up in the hospital following a car crash to find no trace of Helen, but instead a gendarme insistent that she is in fact Helen, an understandable error given the name on the car rental paperwork as well as Helen’s soggy ID. And with that the game truly is afoot as Florence scrambles to figure out the nature of what will prove to be Helen’s fiendish master plot, barreling full-speed towards a breathtaking series of Highsmith-style twists and a stunning conclusion. This darkly comic take on contemporary publishing may well leave readers asking, “Who is Alexandra Andrews?” Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM Partners. (Mar.)