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  • 9781910477960_fc
Edition details


Publication date
22nd September 2020


Gallic Books

PB Demy

Extent (number of pages)

Jane Aitken, Emily Boyce & Polly Mackintosh



BIC category


The Readers’ Room [Trade Paperback]

(Le Service des manuscrits)


The murders in a crime novel start to become reality in this dazzling work of mystery, love and the power of books from Antoine Laurain.

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When the manuscript of a debut crime novel arrives at a Parisian publishing house, everyone in the readers’ room is convinced it’s something special. And the committee for France’s highest literary honour, the Prix Goncourt, agrees.

But when the shortlist is announced, there’s a problem for editor Violaine Lepage: she has no idea of the author’s identity. As the police begin to investigate a series of murders strangely reminiscent of those recounted in the book, Violaine is not the only one looking for answers. And, suffering memory blanks following an aeroplane accident, she’s beginning to wonder what role she might play in the story …

Antoine Laurain, bestselling author of The Red Notebook, combines intrigue and charm in this dazzling novel of mystery, love and the power of books.


‘Clever, intricate and a thoroughly satisfying mystery’  William Ryan, bestselling author of House of Ghosts
‘The plot blends mystery with comedy to great effect, and, as ever, Laurain has fun at the expense of his countrymen’  Daily Mail
‘A stylish whodunnit blended with an affectionate send-up of the world of books’  Sunday Mirror
‘[An] elegantly written little gem… the whole thing is such fun’  Big Issue
‘Laurain has spun a fantastically intricate web here, where the smallest detail could be significant, and, no matter how sure you are that you’ve grasped it, he is one step ahead. Joyously far-fetched and metafictional’ – The Herald
‘A profound love of books and authors underpins this sprightly mystery’  Publishers Weekly
‘A quirky, clever mystery with a unique plot’  Candis
‘A brief blackly comic masterpiece… An observation on life’s rich tapestry; absurd, witty, truthful and engaging’  Crime Time
The Readers’ Room is a genuine masterpiece of literary mystery’  Mystery Scene Magazine
‘Replete with treats for bibliophiles and armchair vigilantes alike, The Readers’ Room is an engrossing mystery novel that plumbs the writing process for its most dangerous potential’  Foreword Reviews
‘Another winner for Laurain. I read it in less than a day and I suspect you will too’  European Literature Network
‘Certain to have immense appeal to mystery buffs and bibliophiles alike’  Midwest Book Review

Praise for Vintage 1954
‘A glorious time-slip caper … Just wonderful’ Daily Mail
‘Delightfully nostalgic escapism set in a gorgeously conjured Paris of 1954’ Sunday Mirror
‘Like fine wine, Laurain’s novels get better with each one he writes … a charming and warm-hearted read’ Phaedra Patrick, author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
Praise for Antoine Laurain
‘A master storyteller’ Huffington Post
‘The very quintessence of French romance’ The Times
‘A little like finding a gem among the bric-a-brac in a local brocante’ The Telegraph
‘Soaked in Parisian atmosphere … will have you rushing to the Eurostar post-haste’ Daily Mail
Antoine Laurain

Meet the author

Antoine Laurain is a novelist, screenwriter, journalist, director and collector of antique keys. A truly born and bred Parisian, after studying film, he began his career directing short films and writing screenplays. His passion for art led him to take a job assisting an antiques dealer in Paris. Th…

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