The man who became a dashing and legendary figure in 18th-century Europe as a sort of healer/magician who robbed the rich and gave to the poor, Count Alessandro di Cagliostro was in fact born in poverty in a Sicilian slum. He is to be the subject of a new biography by Australian cultural historian Iain McCalman, which agent Peter McGuigan at Sanford Greenburger has just sold to executive editor Dan Conaway at HarperCollins for a "very significant" six figures. The plan had been, said McGuigan, to auction North American rights only and to sell foreign rights at the London Book Fair, but Conaway preempted for world rights. The Seven Ordeals of Count Cagliostro was coagented with Mary Cunnane, a former Norton editor now agenting in Australia, and McGuigan reports further such deals in the pipeline.
Volume 248 Issue 12 03/19/2001