View Full Version : Publishers engaging in necromancy...

01-12-2012, 05:00 AM
Had a trip to a bookshop today (for the record it was the Waterstones in Deansgate, I had Christmas vouchers to dispose of humanely...). While I was browsing for possible buys, I saw a nice looking new edition of Gormenghast for sale. I would have ignored it (we own two copies from when we merged our book collections post moving in together) but something on the cover caught my eye. It was a sticker reading 'signed by the author'.

I boggled at this. As far as I knew, Mervyn Peake was dead. indeed a quick check on Wikipedia revealed a death date in 1968. This book was new, could not possibly have been more than a few years old. I looked inside, and there was indeed a signature. It was a 'proper' felt tip pen signature too - not a printed one which I might have expected but would have considered a con. Now, other than the apparent impossibility of him being able to sign this particular book (I might have accepted a book plate signed and stuck in...) I had no way of knowing if this was indeed Peake's signature or not...

So, any thoughts on this mystery? Either fraud on behalf of Waterstones, someone else's signature (maybe someone who wrote the foreward, I could not tell the name from the scribble...) which is still slightly dishonest or someone out there is using necromancy to channel the ghosts of dead writers...

Any thoughts? It certainly weirded me out...

Alessandra Kelley
01-12-2012, 05:25 AM
"Proper felt tip?"

My heart. Whatever happened to fountain pens?

Okay, we have a Julia Child book signed in felt tip. But still ...

Obviously that can't be Mervyn Peake's real signature. I wonder what's up.

BTW, did the signature look anything like this authentic one?:

01-12-2012, 05:27 AM
It was probably supposed to be a signed by the illustrator sticker and an employee made the mistake as they look identical apart from the one word. The chances of someone purposefully forging a signature of someone that they, being a bookseller, know to be dead, is next to nil. Unless it was tongue in cheek...still, no.

Although that's a very boring explanation, and I would rather think that something more supernatural had occured.

01-12-2012, 05:31 AM
I would question the Waterstone employees, the manager and see what type of reaction they have...

01-12-2012, 06:09 AM
I would question the Waterstone employees, the manager and see what type of reaction they have..."Damn; that's why the guy smelled so bad?"

Anne Lyle
01-12-2012, 08:27 AM
Deansgate Waterstones has a reputation for having a great SF&F department, so I very much doubt it was fraud. Maybe, as has been said, it was signed by someone else but they didn't have an appropriate sticker and didn't realise that the "author" one could be misinterpreted because surely everyone knows Peake is dead?

01-12-2012, 02:13 PM
I think it is a mistake... still amusing to consider zombie authors wandering into waterstones... :)

And by proper felt tip, I meant signed with a real pen which in this case happened to be a felt tip pen :)

01-12-2012, 02:24 PM
I would hope it is a mistake.

Reminds me of an anecdote I was told about an independent bookshop in Stratford-upon-Avon having a sign that said 'local author' above the Shakespeare plays/poems section. A tourist asked if they had any signed copies of any of his works.