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London bookshops opened their doors early today for readers to get their hands on JK Rowling’s first novel for adults.

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The Casual Vacancy, the author’s first full-length book in five years, is expected to fly off the shelves following her record-breaking Harry Potter series.

Rhiane Jones was the first to get her hands on the eagerly-anticipated novel at Foyles book shop in Charing Cross Road, central London.

The 29-year-old, from Wood Green, north London, said: “Harry Potter was a large part of the experience of growing up so I was quite curious about what she’d produce.

“I think her fan base will be curious about a novel that is targeted at them now they’ve grown up. And people who’ve bought into the hype around the book and just want a good story will be interested.

“She may not be the most stylish user of language but she’s an amazing storyteller. It will be a good read.”

Publishers have gone to extreme lengths to keep details of the novel under wraps before its release.

It has been described as a “blackly comic” tale about an idyllic town ripped apart by an election. The story is set in Pagford, a dreamy spot with a cobbled market square and ancient abbey, which becomes a town at war with itself.

Published simultaneously in e-book and audio formats, it begins with the unexpected death of Barry Fairweather, whose demise in his early 40s leaves a space on the parish council.

Booksellers took delivery of the novel yesterday and the boxes were unsealed just minutes before shops opened at 8am.

Rowling, 47, has amassed a fortune estimated to be around £620 million from her seven Harry Potter books for children and all the spin-off rights. She said she left “the door ajar” for a return to the world of Harry Potter but there would be no more books about the young wizard.

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