Liskeard Prompt for 03/12/2019
“The Title of the Book”
The title of the book was something that Elderad van Cinq had not settled upon. He had a ‘working title’ that is for sure, but as it was ‘Words Upon Pages’ it wasn’t to be taken seriously, and definitely wasn’t considered apt, six months later, when Elderad’s book was being edited for posthumous publication.
Not that the book warranted much at all in the way of editing – Elderad wrote with a perfectionist’s eye, and barely a tense needed tightening in the whole of the one hundred and thirty-seven thousand words – of which more than a hundred had been plucked from ancient obscurity, and almost fifty had been created solely for the purpose of adding a contrasting freshness to the reader’s experience when discovering the world of Cassigney and its environs.
Being Elderad’s first, last, and only book, he was unable to promote it by the usual means – book-readings, book-signings, book-selling door-to-door, etcetera – as I may have inferred, he was well dead by the time it hit the book-shop shelves.
The title of the book had caused the publishing company quite a deal of trouble; the subject matter of the book, the characters, the locations of the action, all had one defining factor – they were as dank ditchwater, deadly and dull.
So, why was it that this book was awaited for with such bated breath?
The reason was that Elderad was the King of Cassigney, well, he had been until his untimely death at the ripe old age of thirty, and at the hands of person or persons unknown,
‘The King is dead,
Long live the next one!’
thus the king’s words were thought to be of worth.
And, it was rumoured that the king had written within the book about his imminent (to his mind) death.
Luckily, for the plot to thicken enough, but not too much, the hand-written manuscript was kept under lock and key, and the copies upon the shelves, and in the hands of the excited amateur sleuths (of which there were many), although they had been lovingly produced and packaged (‘value for money’ being a watchphrase of the particular publishers involved) it was only to be from the original that the murder was to be solved.
For ‘Murder’ it had been.
The book was given the title, ‘The King’s Tale’, that had been changed to ‘The King’s Story’, followed by, ‘King Elderad’s Tome’, ‘The King an Die’, ‘King E and the Mysterious Affair at Styles’, and lastly, but not least, ‘How a King Was Murdered.’
This last, and also not least, title was proudly gilded upon the cover of a print run of one hundred thousand books. They literally flew off of the shelves – and, as is the usual case, there was one selling for pennies in a charity shop long before lunchtime on the day of release.
There were also ‘signed’ copies being touted around – as much as this was an impossibility – and that had added a few shillings to the prices asked.
The title of the book was destined to be the title of the book at the top of the best-sellers list of Cassigney for many months.
It turned out that the book was there for three months exactly, until it was discovered that the butler had done it.
The book entitled, ‘My Story’ by A. Butler was rush-released, and it was this book that knocked ‘How a King Was Murdered’ off the top of the best-sellers list.
It, too, was published posthumously.