"The Sequel," by Jeffrey Deaver, in The Strand Magazine, November-February 2012-2013.
What do these novels have in common?
A Confederacy of Dunces
Gone With The Wind
To Kill A Mockingbird
Well, besides being considered important American novels, they are each the only book by their authors. There seems to be a special catgory in the American imagination for these books that stand alone either because the author died soon after writing it, or because the author chose to give up the field.
But imagine if another manuscript by such an author was found. And what if it is a sequel to the classic?
That's the concept of Deaver's novella, and it is great fun. Frederick Lowell is an elderly literary agent and one day he gets a letter that hints that one of his deceased clients wrote a sequel to his classic novel. Lowell travels around the country in pursuit of it and - well, a lot of things happen. In fact, it almost feels like Deaver made a list of every way this story could work out and then rang the changes, covering every possibility.
In the first half of the story he gives us a classic quest structure but when that ends we get a mystery, one with several red herring solutions, clever reversals and unexpected twists. Highly recommended.