Rumor mill

Harper Lee might have written third novel, says lawyer

Dana Mixer/The New York Times

Tonja Carter, Harper Lee’s lawyer and the woman at the center of the mystery surrounding the discovery and subsequent publication of Lee’s second novel Go Set A Watchman wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal to tell her side of the story of how the publication Lee’s new novel came about, and revealed that a third novel by the reclusive author might exist. Carter gives her version of a 2011 meeting (first revealed by the New York Times) where she was present with Lee’s former literary agent, Sam Pinkus, and Sotheby’s appraiser Justin Caldwell to examine the novelist’s assets. They discovered “several hundred pages of typed original manuscript” in a safe-deposit box, which appeared to be a later chapter in Mockingbird. It was in the summer of 2014 when she heard at a family gathering that Lee had actually written another novel. She went to look back at the pages in the safe-deposit box and found Go Set a Watchman, and asked (and received) permission from Lee to read the manuscript, who told her it was “the parent of Mockingbird.” Carter reveals that, just last week, she went back to the safe-deposit box to see if there were other things “hiding in plain sight.” She found a package with about 300 pages of typed manuscript, which appears to be the original manuscript of Mockingbird, but could be more than that. “Was it an earlier draft of Watchman, or of Mockingbird, or even, as early correspondence indicates it might be, a third book bridging the two? I don’t know,” Carter wrote, adding that “experts, at Nelle’s direction” are now going to be invited to “examine and authenticate” all the safe-deposit box’s documents.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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