As soon as I saw the reference in that post to "18th century bookselling and spies", I thought of Hal's wife Minnie in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, and this pair of scenes.
First, from Lord John's point of view:
"Minnie," [Hal] said.And then, from Jamie's point of view:
"What?" Grey said, uncomprehending. His sister-in-law was a kind, pretty woman, who managed his difficult brother with great aplomb, but what--
"My secret weapon," Hal admitted, still smiling at whatever thought amused him. "Her father was Raphael Wattiswade."
"I've never heard of Raphael Wattiswade."
"You weren't meant to," his brother assured him, "and neither was anyone else. Wattiswade was a dealer in rare books--traveled to and from the Continent regularly, under the name Andrew Rennie. He was also a dealer in intelligence. A spymaster...who had no sons."
Grey looked at his brother for a moment.
"Tell me," he begged, "that her father did not employ Minnie as a spy."
"He did, the scrofulous old bugger," Hal replied briefly. "I caught her in my study one night during a party, magicking the locked drawer of my desk. That's how I met her."
(From THE SCOTTISH PRISONER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 2, "Erse". Copyright ©2011 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
He’d known her as Mina Rennie; God knew what her real name was. She’d been the seventeen-year-old daughter of a bookseller in Paris who dealt in information and more than once had carried messages between her father and Jamie, during his days of intrigue there before the Rising. Paris seemed as distant as the planet Jupiter. The distance between a young spy and a duchess seemed even greater.So it sounds like we will get to see more of Minnie and her mysterious father -- and we may also learn how Jamie became acquainted with them during the time that he and Claire were living in Paris, in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER.
(From THE SCOTTISH PRISONER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 8, "Debts of Honor". Copyright ©2011 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I think Minnie is an intriguing character, and I'm looking forward to learning more about her.
This as-yet-untitled story is a novella (a shorter piece, like "The Space Between" or "The Custom of the Army"), not a full-length book. And that's all I know about it. I'll post more details as they become available.
In case you're wondering, yes, of course Diana Gabaldon is also working on Book 9! As well as the script for episode 211 of the OUTLANDER TV series. She says she prefers to work on multiple projects at once, because it keeps her from getting writer's block.