She Might Be Keeping Him Company Soon

Sarah has the skinny on a horrifying agent scam that started unfolding last week. Biba Caggiano, a celebrated chef who’s published several cookbooks, is suing her agent, Maureen Lasher, alleging that the latter sold two books and cashed two six-figure advances from publishers Harper Collins without Caggiano’s knowledge. Caggiano claims she only heard about the books in July, when her publisher contacted her directly. Meanwhile, it appears that Lasher has vanished.
I remember going to an agent panel at UCLA during the 2003 L.A. Times Festival of Books, where Maureen Lasher was present, along with agents Michael Carlisle and Bonnie Nadell. While Carlisle and Nadell provided success stories and names of clients they represented, Lasher spent the time allotted to her mostly relating an anecdote about an unsual query letter she’d received. She unfolded a piece of paper and read the bizarre pitch, and then hit her punchline–the author had sent it from jail. Attendees were mostly annoyed, seeing as how none of them were guests at penal colonies, and seeing how they wanted to know how to write a good letter, not listen to bad ones.