- The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2007

Rowling’s new work

J.K. Rowling has been spotted at cafes in Scotland working on a detective novel, a British newspaper reported Saturday.

According to Associated Press, the Sunday Times quoted Ian Rankin, a fellow author and neighbor of Miss Rowling’s, as saying the creator of the “Harry Potter” books is turning to crime fiction.

“My wife spotted her writing her Edinburgh criminal detective novel,” the newspaper quoted Mr. Rankin as telling a reporter at an Edinburgh literary festival.

Miss Rowling famously wrote initial drafts of the Potter story in the Scottish city’s cafes. Back then, she was a struggling single mother who wrote in cafes to save on the heating bill at home. Now she’s Britain’s richest woman — worth $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine — and her seven Potter books have sold more than 335 million copies worldwide.

The office of Miss Rowling’s literary agent, Christopher Little, was not immediately available to comment.

Murphy warns Brown

Eddie Murphy is threatening legal action against former lover Melanie Brown, accusing the Spice Girl of extortion and defamation, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The newspaper says the actor’s legal team has issued a cease and desist against Miss Brown, demanding she stop using his name in press interviews. In a letter to the pop star, Mr. Murphy accuses Miss Brown of “disseminating disparaging, negative and defamatory statements” and making highly “unreasonable extortionate demands” regarding the care of their daughter, Angel Iris.

According to Marty Singer, Mr. Murphy’s lawyer, Miss Brown demanded he buy her a $9 million home in Malibu and allow her to live in it for the next 18 years.

Miss Brown and Mr. Murphy — who dated briefly last summer — are embroiled in a bitter battle over child support payments for their 4-month-old daughter.

Mr. Murphy, the divorced father of five, is now engaged to Tracey Edmonds.

Miss Brown reportedly married her boyfriend, Stephen Belafonte, in June, according to Clark County, Utah marriage records.

Dream cast for ‘Guys’

Broadway is welcoming back “Guys and Dolls,” with a spring 2008 opening in mind, says TVGuide.com, citing a story in the New York Post.

The producers’ dream cast, which sources say has a 50-50 chance of becoming reality, would feature Debra Messing as Adelaide, John C. Reilly as Nathan, Patrick Wilson as Sky, and Anne Hathaway as sweet Sarah.

McPartland honored

Pianist Marian McPartland will be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in November, Downbeat.com reports.

The British-born Miss McPartland, 89, has hosted “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz” for more than 25 years on National Public Radio. Revered for her own talent, she regularly welcomes a wide range of guests to her weekly show, including legendary jazz artists and fledgling talents.

Other inductees include baseball announcer Jerry Coleman, late comedian Jimmy Durante, late radio producer Richard Durham and rock disc jockey Dan Ingram.

A nationally broadcast ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 3 in Chicago, Downbeat.com says.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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