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Book with no name

A children's novel, early copies of which are now changing hands for almost pound;2,000 each, had its title chosen by Cornish pupils.

Valley of Secrets, the tale of a boy who inherits a mysterious mansion, languished in a box for 15 years. But it is now tipped as a bestseller - one newspaper reviewer has called it a masterpiece.

Charmian Hussey wrote the novel, her first, in 1986, but left it in a box until three years ago when she sent it to Saint Piran press, a small Cornish publisher. By June 2003, weeks before its print run, Dr Hussey still had no title so she decided to consult pupils at Callington college.

Dr Hussey, a former model and archaeologist who now runs a farm with her husband, said: "The children had a very important influence. The title ...

seems to fit totally and people think there's an air of mystery about it."

Saint Piran printed just 225 hardback copies of Valley of Secrets before it was picked up by Hodder, which put it on sale this month. The publisher says original hardbacks have been auctioned on eBay for as much as Pounds 1,950.

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