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Table Number Seven (1987)

Novel, 62,500 words, 180 pages

The Book

Lily Franklin inherits £5000 which she is obliged by the terms of the will to spend on a Mediterranean cruise. The book follows her fortunes and those of several of her fellow passengers as they are befriended by the mysterious John Christopher, who seems to be able to solve their problems.

Publishing History

Published by Heinemann 1987 at £10.95. There was an American edition from Trafalgar Square Publishing in 1988. It has never appeared in paperback, though it has been reprinted in large-print editions.

Canning died in February 1986. The book was posthumously completed from rough notes and a typescript that amounted to about three-quarters of the book. The dust jacket credits "his wife Adria and sister Jean", but it is clear from correspondence and press cuttings that the bulk of the work was carried out by Jean Tearle, his sister.

The book sheds an interesting light on Canning's attitude to religion and fate, subjects that he had shown little interest in previously.