Only a few hours after fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot and killed outside his Miami home on July 15, Little, Brown editorial director and associate publisher Fredrica S. Friedman made a reported $500,000 deal to acquire world rights to Undressed: a Biography of Gianni Versace by Christopher Mason, who had written about Versace for the New York Times Magazine and was planning to meet him this August. Eerily, agent Todd Shuster of the Zachary Shuster Literary Agency had contacted editors about this project (which will be Mason's first book) only a week earlier. The breaking news turned what would have been a developing and no doubt lesser-priced project into "the fastest deal I've ever done," Shuster said. An early 1998 publication is planned.

The following day, as reports that Versace may have been a victim of a serial killer developed, SMP editor Charlie Spicer signed true-crime writer Wensley Clarkson to do what is perhaps the inevitable instant true-crime paperback.And those wanting more on Versace's trademark style can look for The Fashion House, to be distributed by Antique Collectors' Club in November. Among the 20 fashion designer abodes featured in the book is Versace's South Miami Beach home. Abbeville, which so far has released five Versace titles, is scheduled to publish The Art of Being You, Versace's look at modern art, by spring 1998.