Hodder & Stoughton anticipated In his defensea courtroom drama about a trial centered around false memories, and another novel by first-time author Philippa Malicka.
Commissioning editor Lily Cooper advanced the UK and Commonwealth rights to the two books, excluding Canada, from Juliet Mushens of Mushens Entertainment.
In his defense will be released as a primary hardcover on the Hodder List in June 2024, with Malicka’s second novel published in 2025. North American rights advanced by Marysue Rucci at Marysue Rucci Books (part of Simon and Schuster) via Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency on behalf of Mushens.
The editor said, “Drawing on our contemporary fascination with celebrity trials, In his defense opens as TV personality Anna Finbow stands on the witness stand, accusing her daughter Mary’s therapist, Jean Guest, of planting false memories in Mary’s head to turn her against her parents and gain access to her significant trust fund. But Jean says Mary’s childhood was abusive and only her therapy allowed her to accept the truth.
“Looking closely at the trial is Gus, a troubled young woman determined to get close to the Finbows. But when he gains Anna’s trust, it becomes clear that he knows there is more to the case than either side admits. And if he tells his side of the story, he might have the power to bring it down.”
Malicka currently works as Content Acquisition Manager for the British Newspaper Archive and Findmypast. In 2018, she completed a master’s degree in creative writing at UEA, where she was tutored by authors including Ian Rankin and Giles Foden. A first draft of the novel was shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport First Novel Award.
Cooper said: “In his defense it’s the kind of book I dreamed would arrive in my inbox. With shades of Anatomy of a scandal (S&S UK) e The talented Mr. Ripley (Vintage) by Zoe Heller, is a sharp and witty examination of privilege, the sometimes dark nature of therapy, and the uncomfortable line between what’s legal and what’s right. Philippa is an electrifying writer.”
Malicka said: “I was overwhelmed with the reaction to In his defense and I’m so excited to launch my writing career with Hodder and Simon and Schuster in the US. In Lily Cooper and Marysue Rucci, I am thrilled to have found such passionate publishers to lead my book into the world, as well as being profoundly fortunate to have Juliet’s visionary support in its making. It’s been a dizzying few weeks, the kind of response a first-time author dreams of, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my publishing journey will bring.
Mushens said: “In his defense it combines two of my favorite things: rich people misbehaving and an outsider with the ability to destroy everything. Philippa is a wonderful writer and I am confident this is the beginning of a long and exciting career as a writer. Lily blew us away with her enthusiasm about her and I’m thrilled to see her cast by Hodder.”