The Belle de Jour weblog
, which records the daily trials and tribulations of a London call girl, began attracting a lot of attention a couple of months ago. It wasn't just the racy, sexy content that got people hooked. It was also the fact that the writing was unusually good. So it wasn't a surprise when the anonymous Belle landed a book deal. But now a new element of controversy
has been added to the story. As the London Times
writes, "There is growing evidence that Belle may be a fictional character who has never been a prostitute."
Dr. Dean Foster, who earlier unmasked the author of Primary Colors
, analyzed Belle's writing and concluded that it was very similar to that of 33-year-old music journalist Sarah Champion (see thumbnail). Champion's agent is denying the charge, but Champion herself is staying mum, though she has stated that she's never been a prostitute. So we'll have to wait and see how this plays out. When I first came across the Belle de Jour site I suspected it might be a hoax just because Belle's life seemed a bit too exciting and glamorous. It seemed like something a writer would make up.
Sarah Champion has written a piece in the Guardian responding to the allegations and insists, "I am not Belle de Jour."