A tribute to Julian Leatherdale, author of The Phantasmic Detective Agency

Julian at the Historical Novel Society of Australasia conference, Sydney, October 2019 (photo taken by Sophie Masson).

We were very sad to hear the news of the death, on Wednesday this week (April 22), of Julian Leatherdale, author of our wonderful upcoming title, The Phantasmic Detective Agency.

As well as being a brilliant writer, Julian was a lovely, generous person and a delight to work with, and truly professional in the best sense of the term: flexible, hard-working, courteous and always considerate. We sent him his author copies some weeks ago and are very glad that he got to see and hold this, his first children’s?YA novel (though not his first novel of course, as he wrote three gripping, elegant adult historical novels too). His response to receiving the book was characteristic of his grace and warmth, even at a time when he was desperately ill: ‘I struggle to find the right words to describe how moved I am to see this beautiful book in its finished form. It is everything and more than I could have imagined when I wrote it….How perfectly has my vision as writer been realised by your team. I count myself very fortunate that my book found its way to you!
We count ourselves fortunate indeed that Julian’s fabulous book found its way to us, and that we had the chance to get to work with him so closely and happily. We mourn his loss, but are so proud to be publishing The Phantasmic Detective Agency. Next week, when it is officially released, we will be celebrating Julian’s magnificent creative achievement and hoping that many, many readers will find their way to his book and love it as much as we do.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Julian’s wife and fellow writer Claire Corbett, their children Sam and Leo, and all the family, in this time of great grief.
Vale, Julian: you will be greatly missed.