We are thrilled to announce that T.A. Willberg’s debut novel, Marion Lane and the Inquirers have sold to Trapeze.

Katie Brown, Commissioning Editor at Trapeze snapped up UK & Commonwealth rights to the historical crime novel and a second book.

Set in the dingy tunnels that flow beneath the streets of London, the novel is perfect for those who loved Magpie Murders and The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Concealed beneath the streets of London, 1958, lies the elusive world of Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries—a confounding maze of tunnels and halls, home to a myriad of curious gadgets—including a mechanised brass snake with built-in voice recorder, a stethoscope that can hear through walls and a chandelier that shoots out poison darts.

When twenty-three-year-old apprentice detective Marion Lane arrives at Miss Brickett’s for a day of training after another dreary weekend with her aunt, she learns that Michelle White, a filing assistant, has been murdered in the corridor outside the library. With the agency elaborately disguised and protected from the outside world, it becomes chillingly clear to everyone at Miss Brickett’s—the killer is one of their own.

When her closest confidant and fellow detective becomes the prime suspect in White’s murder, she is determined to clear her friend’s name and uncover the truth. Marion embarks on a perilous journey to find out who really killed Michelle White, and why…

North American rights have also been snapped up by Laura Brown at Park Row Books.

A thrilled Katie Brown said of the acquisition: ‘I fell in love with this magical book, and it’s eponymous character, after only a few pages. With the backdrop of post-war London and the secrets hidden beneath the city, the bookshop that acts as a façade for this secret society, and the thrilling murder mystery that forced me to keep reading late into the night, I knew I had to publish Marion Lane. Tess is a gifted storyteller and creative powerhouse, brimming with ideas, and I know readers all over the world will be swept away by her debut novel.’

T.A. Willberg sais: ‘I am overjoyed to have found such a lovely home for my book at Trapeze. Katie’s enthusiasm for the story, in all its oddity, is truly a dream come true!’

T.A. Willberg was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up on a small-holding outside Durban surrounded by horses, sheep, chickens and more snakes and spiders than she cares to recall. Her mother, after whom her protagonist is named, is a trained nurse with a degree in English Literature who worked at the Institute of Race Relations during the years of apartheid. Her father is German and a mechanical engineer with a wildly inventive imagination, and certainly the influence behind many of the gadgets in her novel.