Fifty Shades stolen: Pre-publication copy of 'Grey' reported stolen

British police investigating disappearance of forthcoming E.L. James book

Police in Britain are investigating the disappearance of a copy of "Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian," the forthcoming erotica novel by E.L. James, the BBC reported.

The existence of "Grey" was first announced just over a week ago, after being kept under wraps for what appears to have been a very long time. The novel retells the story of "Fifty Shades of Grey" from the perspective of Christian Grey, the book's charismatic protagonist, a Seattle businessman with an interest in bondage and sadomasochistic sex.

James' publisher, Penguin Random House, contacted Kent police after discovering that a copy of the book was missing on Monday, a police spokesman told the BBC.

A Penguin Random House spokeswoman confirmed the investigation to People magazine, which also quoted a Kent police spokesman as saying, "We cannot go into further details as it may form part of the investigation. It could have been in a warehouse, or traveling to a warehouse or from a warehouse. So we need [to] establish where the theft occurred."

The book's publishers are likely concerned that a theft could lead to the book being pirated or to details about the contents being given to journalists before its scheduled release on June 18.

The unexpected fourth book in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" series became an Amazon sensation almost instantly. The book is currently No. 2 on Amazon's bestseller list, behind Jimmy Fallon's just-released children's book "Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA."

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