The Book Club Blog

Whether the two agents spoke, I don’t know. I’d imagine they did.

Hilton’s piece on dirty weekends will probably appear in the Observer next week, or the week after; it’s a red herring.

Hilton will get loads of people to her launch party. I’m sure there is a strategy for denying at some point that she wrote Belle.

Some people are plumping for Hilton because she hasn’t denied it, whereas all the others have – except perhaps Alastair Campbell, but it isn’t him! The false assumption is that it’s someone who’s already been mentioned. It isn’t.

I know who the author really is. He is male and his name hasn’t been mentioned by anyone. He’s an author who, if I mentioned his name, many people would go ‘ah yes, sounds just like what he might do’. He has his head screwed on right, and he will do what we would all do – go all out for the Hollywood film deal. This will very probably mean not identifying himself for years. He’s been around for some time, is all I’ll say.

(I won’t be answering questions on how I know his identity. I know him, and my attitude is good luck to him).

(Not taking liberties; I thought your readers would be interested!)
verysunnymeadow Email 02.01.05 – 8:22 pm #
——————————————————————————–
yeah right. And Helen Garnons-Williams met him in drag then…your story doesn’t fit
Allan 02.02.05 – 10:22 pm #
——————————————————————————–
No drag. He has used a female stand-in a few places for the first contact. (Wouldn’t you?) Peter Ayrton says he smelled a rat. The difference with Helen Garnons-Williams is that her house bought the book. If Ayrton had bought it, he’d have said much the same as H G-W said.

If you think the author is female because of what the editor has said, you are barking up the wrong tree I’m afraid. Either Helen G-W is lying or she met a stand-in. The author is so shit-hot that little editing would have been required, so it’s possible she’s never met the author, but most likely, they have met. In which case, if the name comes out and the publishers say anything, everyone involved is bound to say she met a stand-in, so that H G-W doesn’t have to admit to lying.

Even if I didn’t know who it was, the writing is so male. Not just by Gender Genie standards – by which most news reports come out as male. I mean it is male in the way that has been apparent to most female reviewers.

Cynthia Payne knows the business. Take her word over the editor’s. Payne’s opinion would have been of interest even if she’d said Belle was genuine. When she said it was a fake, she was saying what she really thought and she was right.
verysunnymeadow Email 02.02.05 – 11:50 pm #
——————————————————————————–
Is he trying to set up Hilton as the apparent author then?
Allan 02.05.05 – 1:40 pm #
——————————————————————————–
I don’t know whether he’s trying to set up Lisa Hilton. It’s possible. My wife thinks he may well be. I’m dubious, as I don’t get a motive. There are certainly some Hiltony sounding bits in the book, e.g. on mince pies, but this is probably coincidence. Maybe I’m wrong. The diary is very layered, more so than many think. Whilst there are many clever references to his real identity – which I can’t discuss – I’m sure there are also loads of references to various things that I don’t get. E.g. goodness knows why he mentioned Frankenhooker. I’ve never heard of any link between the author and Lisa Hilton, or even shared interests except very minor ones that might link any two people. I think she’s just an opportunist. But to consider the alternative hypothesis – does someone know whether her latest book was ghostwritten? It’s remotely possible there’s a link through agents somewhere. (Note to you-know-who – I know you’re reading this! )
verysunnymeadow Email 02.06.05 – 1:24 am #
——————————————————————————–
So you don’t hold with the idea that Hilton’s shift from Little Brown to W&N was just to cover for the Belle book, i.e. give Hilton an excuse to be hanging around the office, receiving proofs in the post etc?
And why the explicit reference to Hilton in the blog in the first place if there’s no link? At the time the references to Hilton as author of Bdj were limited to 4 or 5 websites. Speculation probably would have faded away but for Belle’s diary entry…
verysuspiciousmind 02.06.05 – 4:47 pm #
——————————————————————————–
Hi – I don’t know much about Lisa Hilton. Her new book is real and will get reviewed and probably sell quite well. Very few people at W&N know who the Belle author is – maybe only 1 or 2 people. No need for him to hang around the office, and the proofs probably went via Patrick Walsh. LH was first mentioned in the blog on 13 Apr 04 after her name had been raised in public. Was it really only 4 or 5 websites? I’m sure the author Googles on Belle de Jour and keeps up on what’s being said. Speculation means more people visit the site and a bigger market for the book.

Toby Young was proposed too, and was also then mentioned in the blog (2 Apr 04).

I do think the author is ‘allowing’ people to think he is LH. But only up to a point. He’s not setting her up. All she has to do is deny it. I expect she will, after her Peachum book’s been out for a few weeks. The main reason speculation hasn’t faded is that she hasn’t denied it. If I was W&N I’d say string ‘em along.
verysunnymeadow Email 02.06.05 – 6:49 pm #
——————————————————————————–
Hi – I don’t know much about Lisa Hilton. Her new book is real and will get reviewed and probably sell quite well. Very few people at W&N know who the Belle author is – maybe only 1 or 2 people. No need for him to hang around the office, and the proofs probably went via Patrick Walsh. LH was first mentioned in the blog on 13 Apr 04 after her name had been raised in public. Was it really only 4 or 5 websites? I’m sure the author Googles on Belle de Jour and keeps up on what’s being said. Speculation means more people visit the site and a bigger market for the book.

Toby Young was proposed too, and was also then mentioned in the blog (2 Apr 04).

I do think the author is ‘allowing’ people to think he is LH. But only up to a point. He’s not setting her up. All she has to do is deny it. I expect she will, after her Peachum book’s been out for a few weeks. The main reason speculation hasn’t faded is that she hasn’t denied it. If I was W&N I’d say string ‘em along.
verysunnymeadow Email 02.06.05 – 6:50 pm #
——————————————————————————–
it still doesn’t explain the abs reference though.
Allan 02.07.05 – 8:55 am #
——————————————————————————–
Abs reference –

1) a joke based on LH’s article in the ‘Observer’ 26 Oct 2003?

2) ‘real’? Is there a picture of LH in a bikini, somewhere offline? The author is good at research and not lazy like many authors (nor into paying others to do his research). Maybe he thinks LH is a stunna?

3) a tempter, to keep suspicions up?

4) a subtle dig? Isn’t it men who are supposed to have abs?

Or all of the above.

Out of interest, any idea whether the ‘Peachum’ book is ghostwritten?
verysunnymeadow Email 02.07.05 – 10:49 am #
——————————————————————————–
Hmm, I suspect you’re speculating here. Ther’ more to these abs than meet the eye. Has this author confirmed his BdJ role to you, or are you just surmising? None of the above is any more convincing than the LH story.
I don’t suppose you’ll explain your nickname?
And why on earth would the Peachum book be ghostwritten? That’s new to me.
Cheers, Allan
Allan 02.07.05 – 4:13 pm #
——————————————————————————–
Yes, re. abs I’m only speculating. I can’t explain everything that’s in the book. If it were LH, why would she get her character to say how dishy she is? Sounds funny, but in the long run shows a bad attitude to the ‘public’. LH is not a bad guess for those who don’t know who the author is. I’ve known him for yonks. He gave a nod and a wink to a mutual friend, but once you know who it is, there is overwhelming evidence in both the Belle work and stuff under his own name.

Re. LH, she’s got good reason for not denying it (yet). No author goes against their publisher’s PR bods. I’m not saying the ‘Peachum’ book was ghosted – just asking; many such books are. LH seems more sybarite than swot, and may not spend a lot of time in libraries. I’m suspicious of that Sebag-Montefiore too. Even Gary Kasparov has a ghostwriter.

My nickname: I wanted sunnymeadow – nice-sounding, easy to remember – but it had gone.
verysunnymeadow Email 02.07.05 – 7:18 pm #
——————————————————————————–
What do you mean by the phrase “many such books are”? What sort of book do you consider the “Peachum” book to be? Do you assume that most historical biographies are ghostwritten by someone other than the author named on the cover? Why would Lisa Hilton need to be involved with her books if they were written by someone else? Its not as if she’s a supermodel trying to break out as a novelist, or a popstar pretending to have written her own autobiography.

You say that you don’t know much about Lisa Hilton, but you are now surmising about her character and intellectual propensities. This strikes me as a little strange to say the least. As does your questioning of the research abilities and proficiency of other random writers. Why do you doubt “that Sebag-Montefiore,” and refer to him in such a disparaging way, and what does Kasparov having his first drafts written up by Dmitry Plisetsky have to do with anything?

And surely you’ve overlooked the most obvious explanation for Belle de Jour’s reference to Lisa Hilton’s abdominal muscles – which is that Belle knows Lisa intimately enough to know their condition. Why the need for a photograph? I don’t understand your reasoning for questioning why Belle would think Lisa “dishy,” if Belle was Lisa. Lots of people fancy themselves quite a lot these days. It doesn’t sound that funny. And why does this show “a bad attitude to the public” at all, let alone in “the long run” rather than in the short term, or at the time it was said?

And if Lisa is under orders from her “PR bods” to not deny that she is Belle de Jour, then why has her literary agent Michael Alcock described the possibility as “extraordinary,” and “tittle and tattle,” and the whole business as a “scam”? Do you imagine that these people do not co-ordinate their strategies? And is there not an issue of breach of contract at stake if a published author sells a work through an agent other than their own? Are we to imagine t
Nick Email Homepage 02.08.05 – 3:43 pm #
——————————————————————————–
(continued) to imagine that your nodding and winking friend has had his other published works handled by Patrick Walsh and Weidenfeld & Nicolson too?
Nick Email Homepage 02.08.05 – 3:45 pm #
——————————————————————————–
Sorry I’m late to this discussion. So. As I understand it a known male author has written Belle de Jour, but Lisa Hilton is trying to claim credit, or at least bask in the book’s reflected glory, at some risk to her reputation. And on the other side someone is now “alleged” to have ghostwritten Mistress Peachum, none other of couse than your “author”! What a vile plot to hoist onto a gullible public, let alone the Guardian! And Alcock and Walsh dance off into the dollar-raining sunset….
Nurse!
Seb Email 02.08.05 – 7:49 pm #
——————————————————————————–
It would be naive to suggest, when one is talking about media manipulation by de facto anonymous means, that the most obvious explanation for the abs reference is that the author knows LH’s abs intimately. This sounds like special pleading for the LH ‘theory’, ditto saying that the delay with her ‘Observer’ article was ‘mysterious’. I suggested that perhaps the author (who is male and straight) might find her dishy. Perhaps he doesn’t. The abs reference is not a big clue, still less a clue dropped by accident. LH is on record as going on about abs. An hour’s research into who she is, and a taste for manipulation, might lead to the ‘she’s got good abs’ line. If you want clues there are some planet-sized ones in the ‘Belle’ material, but I can’t point to them without identifying the author.