Rescued from the book graveyard

Eight years after Wright death, his masterpiece, “Tony and Susan,” is being reissued to worldwide acclaim.

Austin Wright is having a year most authors can only dream of. Not only is his book, “Tony and Susan,” a best-seller in Britain, but this week, a major U.S. publisher is publishing the work in the states with a printing of 10,000 copies in hardcover.

Too bad he’s not around to witness it: Wright died in 2003 at the age of 80.

Here is the very odd backstory to “Tony and Susan”: The thriller was first released in 1993 to a small publishing house. It garnered critical acclaim, but it failed to gain traction with readers. However, over in England, editor Ravi Mirchandani, who read the original manuscript two decades ago, just couldn’t forget it. So he decided to investigate what happened to “Tony and Susan”?and discovered the book was out of print. The staff at his publishing house loved it, they acquired the rights to it and went on to sell worldwide rights in 15 languages.

“I’ve never had this happen,” says Jamie Raab, Publisher of Grand Central, who bought the rights for U.S. publication for its re-release. “I read the book and thought it was amazing. I wanted to be a part of introducing it to a much larger audience.”

Raab knows the whole tale is bittersweet.

“Unfortunately, [Wright] is not around to appreciate it and to enjoy its success,” says Raab. “But it’s just a seamless book and works on so many levels. I just had to try to get it out there.”


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