First time novelist Andrew Nicoll has crashed into the best-sellers list, leaving big-name authors trailing.

His debut novel The Good Mayor was named by Waterstone’s as its Scottish Book of the Month for May and, backed by astonishing word of mouth, it shot to third place in the charts this week, ahead of long-established favourites like Alexander McCall Smith and Bill Bryson, outselling the heavily-promoted sequel to Chocolat and the internationally ranked Khaled Housseni.

Described as “a love story and a story about love”, The Good Mayor will launch UK-wide later this month.

It’s already been the subject of rights auctions in Australia/New Zealand and Norway with intense interest from around the world.

Hailed by Andrew Marr of the BBC as “a triumph of tone, very moving, completely convincing’’, the novel has received some remarkable early reviews with award-winning writer Ronald Frame commenting: “Read this book for yourself. Here’s a very exciting new talent, a wise and witty guide through the labyrinth of love. We should be singing Andrew Nicoll’s praises.’’ Set in the little town of Dot in a forgotten part of the Baltic, The Good Mayor tells the story of Tibo Krovic, the good and honest Mayor of Dot, and his love for his secretary, the beautiful, lonely, but married, Mrs Agathe Stopak.

Andrew Nicoll is a newspaper reporter working at the Scottish Parliament. He wrote The Good Mayor during his daily train journey to work but struggled to find a publisher. Just ten days before his self-imposed, two year deadline, he was offered a contract by the Edinburgh-based independent, Black and White Publishing. Commenting last night, Mr Nicoll said: “I always knew that, if I could get the book into the hands of readers, they would like it. All it took was a publisher with a bit of imagination.’’

Following a hotly contested auction, Edinburgh-based independently owned publishing house Black & White recently sold the Australia and New Zealand rights to The Good Mayor to HarperCollins. Rights have also been sold in Norway, with Holland, the US and Canada to follow soon.

The Good Mayor is published in paperback by Black & White at £10.

For further information please contact Alison McBride at Black and White Publishing Tel: 0131 625 4500 E: Issued on behalf of Black & White Publishing by Liquorice Media tel 0141 564 8058 Date 20th May 08