Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Inquiry into 'dumped' Potter books

The author is unlikely to be impressed by the reported mishap
Police are being called in to investigate the suspected thefts of two copies of the eagerly awaited fifth Harry Potter book.

Author JK Rowling's agent said an inquiry had being launched following the reported find of two books dumped in a field near to a printing works.

Copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix were discovered by a walker in Bungay, Suffolk, who immediately contacted the Sun newspaper, which now has them in its possession.

The fifth instalment of the wizarding adventures is not due to be published until 21 June.

Neil Blair, from literary agency Christopher Little, said: "This is a matter that we are currently investigating and the investigation is focusing on the suspicion that this involved a theft."

Sussex Police said it had not yet received a complaint about the books.


The copies were reportedly found a quarter of a mile (400 metres) from Clays Ltd, which will print hundreds of thousands of the book.

The walker, an unnamed 40-year-old father-of-two, telephoned The Sun, according to the newspaper.

It sent a journalist to bring the books to its headquarters in Wapping, east London, and is arranging to return them to publishers Bloomsbury.

The newspaper is also convinced a third copy is also in circulation, reporting a separate incident where a "shifty sounding" man had asked the newspaper for £25,000 in a suitcase for the first three chapters of the book.

The books, found without covers, were dedicated to JK Rowling's husband, Dr Neil Murray, 37, and her two children, with the inscription: "To Neil, David and Jessica who make my world magical."

The schoolboy wizard has already earned the author £280m, reportedly making her richer than the Queen.

Suffolk Police said it had received a call and it was planning to speak to the complainant later on Tuesday.

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