'A newly discovered but unfinished novel by Graham Greene is being serialized in The Strand magazine beginning this week and will appear in four more quarterly installments.
Published: July 14, 2009
A newly discovered but unfinished novel by Graham Greene is being serialized in The Strand magazine beginning this week and will appear in four more quarterly installments. The magazine hopes to commission someone to write an ending for the novel, a murder mystery called “The Empty Chair” that Greene began in 1926 and then apparently abandoned. He was 22 at the time, had just converted to Roman Catholicism and was working, on trial, at The Times of London. The manuscript, written in longhand, was discovered last year in the Greene archive at the Ransom Center at the University of Texas by a French scholar, François Gallix.
The first chapter was published in December by The Times of London as part of a literary quiz in which readers were asked to guess the author. The novel is a country-house mystery, with a couple of titled characters as well as a sly, Columbo-like detective-inspector. “It’s not vintage Greene, and not Greene at the height of his powers,” Andrew Gulli, the managing editor of The Strand, said last week. “But you can tell that he has all the parts in place.”
The Strand, which in its last issue published a newly unearthed story by Mark Twain as well as a lost P. G. Wodehouse story, is itself a rediscovery of sorts. Now published in Birmingham, Mich., it’s a revival of the famous London magazine that flourished from 1890 to 1950 before finally folding.