A man who famously got a literary classic rejected by the publishing industry, has now become a genuine published author in his own right.
In 2007, David Lassman, at the time director of the Jane Austen Festival, sent out opening chapters of several Austen novels, under the pseudonym 'Alison Laydee', and with only minor changes, to investigate how the world-famous author would fare if a struggling unpublished writer today.
The resultant article, Rejecting Jane, written for the Jane Austen's Regency World magazine became the literary story of 2007 – first told by the Western Daily Press – and Lassman found himself at the centre of a media storm.
One of the reasons behind the instigation of this literary hoax was the earlier universal rejection by publishers of his own novel, Freedom's Temple, written while living on the Greek Island of Symi, but sent out on his return to the UK.
Six years on, and in the year that sees Pride & Prejudice, one of the books rejected by publishers, celebrate its 200th anniversary, Lassman's new novel, The Regency Detective, can now join this classic in the canon of published books set during that period.
The mystery thriller has been co-written with Terence James, and revolves around Jack Swann, who arrives in Regency Bath for his mother's funeral but finds danger and destiny waiting for him.
Haunted by the brutal murder of his father, years earlier, Swann has turned his back on his privileged upbringing and chosen to fight crime as the Regency Detective.
Now in Bath, he finds that he must protect his sister, Mary, from the charming but sinister Lockhart, battle against a ruthless crime boss, Wicks, who is hell-bent on assassinating him, and chase the clues that will unmask his father's killer.
Lassman said: "I am really pleased to be a published novelist on my own merit. I hope The Regency Detective will appeal not only to Austen fans, but also people with an interest in Bath, aficionados of crime fiction and anyone else who just enjoys a cracking good story."
The Regency Detective is published by Mystery Press, and was released today.