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  • Writer's pictureMax Sinsheimer

SOLD! The Absinthe Forger (by Evan Rail)

Fall is the publishing busy season, and I'm happy to report that a book deal has emerged from all the busyness. Evan Rail's The Absinthe Forger, a true (light) crime narrative that explores the nature of obsession and ego through the astonishing deceptions of an amoral eccentric — think The Feather Thief but for spirits — will be published by Carl Bromley at Melville House!

Stephen Hadley-Christensen, a fake name for a very real person, was a London-based absintheur and collector who began forging bottles of historic, pre-ban absinthe. He successfully deceived many of the world’s top collectors, selling scores of fake bottles online for years, until he was finally confronted in 2019. The Absinthe Forger pieces together Stephen’s subterfuge, motivation, and hidden life story, and shows how the allure of “the Green Fairy” can transform a person.

In addition to being a compelling crime drama and character study that would make for an easy-to-envision Netflix documentary, The Absinthe Forger is also a paean to “the Green Fairy.” It delves into the romantic and illicit history of absinthe, beginning with its birth as an elixir in Switzerland, through its coming of age in France, and on to the spirit’s modern revival. As the NYT reporter and editor Clay Risen put it, this is “a great story, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity for Evan to relate a rich and compelling history about a still-mysterious spirit.”

Evan is an award-winning journalist on food and drink who has covered the modern absinthe revival for the NYT, WSJ, VinePair, and other publications. He has attended the Absinthiades festival in France and absinthe-fueled private soirées and has personal knowledge of the absinthe underworld. He has spent years getting to know Stephen and the connoisseurs and collectors who uncovered his fraud. Fluent in French and German and a long-term resident of Europe, he is ideally placed to author this unusual tale.

Melville House is a terrific indie press based in Brooklyn and distributed by Penguin Random House. Here is the Publisher's Marketplace deal memo:

Congratulations to Evan and his editor, Carl!

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