Lost or unknown manuscripts seem to be turning up at a surprising pace these days. In September, the publication of a long lost book by James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, etc.) was announced by publisher Charles Ardai. Cain’s novel, The Cocktail Waitress, will be released by Hard Case Crime in September 2012.
Now, it appears that Arthur Conan Doyle’s long lost first novel, The Narrative of John Smith, has been published in the UK. Conan Doyle wrote the book when he was a young doctor working in Portsmouth, England. On his first attempt to get the book published, the Royal Postal Service managed to lose the manuscript.
He eventually rewrote the book from memory, but mysteriously never bothered to publish it. The manuscript turned up more than a century later at a Sotheby’s auction in 2004. Earlier this month, the British Library, which purchased the Conan Doyle collection at auction, released the novel. A US edition is due in November. Meanwhile, the British Library is displaying the manuscript and other Conan Doyle works at the Library’s Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery.
What’s next, a missing Twain ? Or maybe a lost Dickens novel for his 200th birthday.