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The Continuity Girl

A comic love story in which the discovery of a long-lost version of a cult movie sheds light on a 45-year-old love affair between a Hollywood filmmaker and a real-life Loch Ness monster hunter by Patrick Kincaid

  • https://unbound.com/books/the-continuity-girl

The Synopsis

THE CONTINUITY GIRL is centred on the supposed discovery of an uncut print of Billy Wilder’s celebrated film, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970). It begins in the run up to 2014’s Scottish independence referendum, when Gemma MacDonald, a London-based Film Studies lecturer of Scottish heritage, is tasked with presenting the new print at a festival screening in Inverness. She seeks out April Korzeniowski, the movie’s Californian continuity supervisor (NB—in reality, this role fell to Elaine Schreyeck, whose remarkable career deserves another and quite different book). We then switch to 1969 and learn of the affair that develops between April and a young English scientist, Jim Outhwaite. Jim is a member of the Loch Ness Research Group, and thus a dedicated seeker of evidence for the Loch Ness monster.

But in life, as in a Billy Wilder movie, nothing goes to plan and nobody is quite who they seem. While men are landing on the moon and the 1960s approaches its bitter, gloriously sound-tracked end, fault lines begin to appear between the director and his stars, between Jim and his colleagues (and their wives), and between lovers brought together by extreme circumstances. It’s a long wait for golden time to alight on Urquhart Castle, and when it does, the moment must be snatched before it’s gone…

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes was a commercial and critical flop in its day, but has since developed a dedicated following. It is a favourite of both Kim Newman and Anne Billson, two film critics who are also Sherlockians, and writers of genre novels with real bite. Mark Gatiss claims the film as an inspiration for Sherlock, the phenomenally successful BBC TV series he co-created with Steven Moffat. And the satirical novelist Jonathan Coe has written extensively of his obsession with the film, most notably in his essay ‘9th and 13th’. It even makes an appearance in his latest novel, Number 11. Of The Continuity Girl, Jonathan says: ‘[Patrick Kincaid’s] book sounds delightful—I am always happy to encourage anything which creates interest in this wonderful film.’

The Excerpt

Excuse me,’ Jim said, ‘do you mind if I borrow your paper?’

‘Not at all, young man,’ said the Watson actor. He picked it up from where he had dropped it by his chair. ‘Be my guest,’ he said, handing it up. ‘You following the moon mission, too?’

He was a thick-set man of about forty, with a real moustache and a receding head of tightly curled hair. His smile was natural and there was a light of genuine interest in his eyes. Jim felt the power of personality in a way he’d never felt it before. ‘I am, yes.’

‘It’s wonderful to have some good news in the papers for a change, isn’t it?’ Now that he wasn’t in character, it was possible to detect something in his voice that was neither English nor Scottish. ‘I suppose you’ve been interested in space since you were a nipper, eh? H.G. Wells and all that…’

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The Author

Like April in the novel, Patrick is an Anglo-American. He was born to an English mother in Amarillo, Texas, but moved to the UK when his American father was stationed in Oxfordshire with the USAF in the mid-1970s. Unlike his older brother, Patrick was sent to a local rather than a base school, and very quickly went native. He eventually gained a PhD in English Literature at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. For the past 14 years, he has taught English to secondary school children in an inner-city comprehensive in Coventry.

Long a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, Patrick contributed one of his own, ‘The Doll and His Maker’, to MX Publishing’s SHERLOCK’S HOME: THE EMPTY HOUSE, an anthology of pastiches put together to raise funds for the preservation of one of the author’s former homes. As well as writing fiction, Patrick is a keen poet. He was short-listed for the Bridport Poetry Prize in 2012 and long-listed for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013.

The Rewards

All supporters get their name printed in every edition of the book. All levels include immediate access to the author's shed.

$15
Digital Patron

Ebook edition and your name in the list of patrons in the back of the ebook.

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$20
Super Patron Paperback (Early Bird Discount)
Special offer

Special Early Bird price. Paperback 1st edition, ebook edition and your name in the list of Super Patrons in the front of the ebook.

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$20
Patron Paperback

1st edition paperback, ebook edition and your name in the list of Patrons in the back of the book.

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$25
Super Patron Paperback

1st edition paperback, ebook edition and your name in the list of Super Patrons in the front of the book.

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$35
Super Patron Paperback Plus
Everything you get with the Super Patron Paperback, plus a digital copy of 'The Doll and His Maker', the author's Sherlock Holmes story with a twist.
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$95
5 Copy Bundle

5 copies of the 1st edition Super Patron paperback and the ebook edition.

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$125
Bookclub Bundle

Patrick will come and give a talk to your bookclub or organisation, limited to Warwickshire and the West Midlands. Plus everything from the 5 copy bundle level.

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$315
Frontispiece

1st edition paperback, ebook edition and a personal dedication from the author in the front of the book.

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