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#1417 - 12/11/06 05:06 PM Re: New reprints

The Bantam paperback is still holding together, but it needs careful handling. Barbara, is this new edition a trade paperback?

#1418 - 12/13/06 12:22 AM Re: New reprints
Barbara Offline

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Yes, it is, but one of the smaller-sized trades. If either of you is planning to buy a replacement copy, I should warn you there's a slight change in the opening that I made at the request of Maggie Topkis, the publisher.

You know about mystery-lovers and cats, don't you? They go together like Cav and Pag. More than once I've heard some writer or other on a panel say "Wholesale murder is okay, but never harm a single hair on a cat." And that's precisely why I started The Fourth Wall with the beheading of a cat; to a mystery/cat-lover, that would be shocking.

But Maggie has run a mystery bookshop for years, and she says that so many times she's watched customers read the first page of a book and decide to buy or not to buy solely on the basis of that first page. She's afraid the cat opening will cause me to lose new readers. I grumbled a lot but eventually decided she could be right. So I changed the cat into a much safer bird; it's not likely I'll start getting hate mail from bird-lovers.

If this were the first publication of the book, I would have said no. I said no to the English editor who wanted to change the title of Prima Donna at Large to Death of a Baritone. And I resisted considerable editorial pressure to change the ending of Kill Fee. But this is The Fourth Wall's sixth publication, so I figured it wouldn't kill me to give in this one time.

#1419 - 12/13/06 03:17 PM Re: New reprints
Christopher Offline

Registered: 07/02/02
Posts: 3558
Aha! An instant collector's item! ("And the Final Jeopardy question is...what mystery writer substituted a bird for a cat in a decapitation scene?")

#1420 - 12/13/06 09:19 PM Re: New reprints
Jon Offline

Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
This is the sort of thing that will literary scholars of 2095 all kinds of fun, trying to figure out if the author could possibly have approved such a fundamental change.

It's true, though, that you can kill all the human beings you want in a story, but never a cat. How well I remember the cries of outrage when Marilyn the cat on Prison Break was offed; there were three other killings in that episode, but nobody seemed to care much about that. My cries that this was a fictional cat, after all, and no real kitties were harmed, etc., seemed to fall on deaf ears.

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