Books: Cover Stories

AS FAR as anyone knows, Princess Diana left behind no diaries that an enterprising publisher might turn into a book. However, she has apparently been busy in the hereafter, dictating her thoughts to "channeller" Rita Eide, whose book The Celestial Voice of Diana is already a bestseller in Norway. Cautious at first, the Findhorn Press - the publishing arm of the long-established alternative community in Moray, Scotland - decided to go ahead after Divine Providence or some such had caused the proposal to turn up three times in the mail. It seems that Diana came "on the line" to Eide within days of her untimely death and "asked" her to write a book. How appropriate, say Findhorn, that a woman who in life "declared herself ambassador-at-large should, beyond death, become an ambassador of the soul". Diana and Eide are now at work on a second volume. Meanwhile, Findhorn has sent a copy to her ex-husband, hoping for a comment. And, as if that isn't enough, the book world is buzzing with rumours that James Hewitt, another of Diana's unsuitable men, is at last at work on a memoir.

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A TRUE sporting hero has set to work on his memoirs. Sir Stanley Matthews, who retired from football aged 50 and is now 84, this week signed with Headline for what, in the circs, is a modest advance of around pounds 250,000. Sir Stanley has trenchant views on today's game and his book is not expected to pull punches.

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WITH MEN are from Mars... still high in the charts, a tongue-in-cheek proposal is doing the rounds. Women are from Venus, Men are from Hell is having a hard time finding a publisher, however: male-led sales teams are not amused.

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ONE COULD be forgiven for thinking that HarperCollins is an outpost of Tory Central Office, what with Archer and Thatcher and, this autumn, the autobiography of John Major. Now they are also publishing In the Firing Line, the memoirs of the former Tory chairman Sir Brian Mawhinney. He's out of the stalls in September, and his book will "explore the Christian principles he seeks to live by". Discuss. Major's coming opus, unleashed into the conference season, is shaping up to be tougher than anticipated - candid, unsparing and "frank about the civil war that emerged within his own party".

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