Who is Morty? The draft of the blurb for the back of the book.

Mortimus relaxing at home.

Mortimus relaxing at home.

Professor Mortimus Clay is the most prolific author writing posthumously in the world today.

Professor Clay is not given to sweeping generalizations but he has this on the highest authority. When living, Professor Clay was, unfortunately, a dismal failure as an author. Passed over by editors and snubbed by former schoolmates like Charles Dickens, Clay spent his life living like a character in a Dickens novel. When Clay wrote Dickens to this effect in the hope of at least appearing in print as a character in a book even if he could not see his name on the cover of one, Dickens is reported to have said, “Mortimus Clay? Never heard of the fellow.”

To this day Dickens denies saying any such thing. But Professor Mortimus has his sources and Dickens always was so full of himself. It gives one a chuckle to know the old snot has not written anything in over a century and here is his old shoe, Mortimus Clay, as dead as a doornail, still writing after all these years! How absolutely delicious!

While living, Mortimus Clay served as Professor of Arts and Letters at the Her Majesty’s Knitting College for Wayward Girls. After teaching Beowulf and The Faerie Queen to unappreciative knitters for 50 years in the backroom of a Manchester warehouse, Professor Clay died in 1882 a gray and wizened man.

It was the best thing that ever happened to him as his writing took an immediate turn for the better.

Professor Clay’s personal secretary – The Rev. Christopher Wiley

Rev. Wiley is a rather drab cleric living and ministering in Manchester, Connecticut. Not believing in ghosts has not hampered his interactions with Professor Clay. His relationship with the deceased began one spring morning when he turned on his computer and found a draft of the first chapter of The Purloined Boy: A Hint of Blue as an email attachment. The email was addressed to a Reverend C. R. Wiley of Manchester. It read:

Rev. Wiley, how are you, old boy? Still at it after all these years? What have you found, the elixir of youth? Regardless, old chum, do us a favor, would you, and drop this by post to the nearest publisher? There’s a sport!

Yours truly,
Mortimus Clay, DLitt.

Since that morning chapters have been appearing on Reverend Wiley’s computer with regularity. Pastor Wiley believes that Mortimus Clay has him confused with a clergyman the dead professor knew in Manchester, England. Every attempt to communicate this has been met with silence. Seeing it is the heart’s desire of the dead professor to see his work in print, Reverend Wiley dutifully compiled the manuscript and submitted it for publication. To his shock, and to the delight of Professor Clay, the work found a publisher – Finster Press of Hartford.

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