A CLASSIC nineteenth century novel is being re-invented as tongue-in-cheek rhyming verse – dubbed by the writer as a possible “grave-turner.”

North Yorkshire writer Bernard Crewdson started the work two years ago but hopes to complete it this year to mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austin’s much-loved Pride and Prejudice.

Mr Crewdson, known as Ebenezer Bean on the cover of his books, has completed 10 of the 60 chapter novel and said he has tried to stay as true to the story as possible, while adding some cheeky references.

The opening verse is recognisable as Austin’s original: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Mr Crewdson’s verse reads: “Everyone knows, the writer said, A man who sleeps in a single bed, If he’s got money in his life, He must be desperate for a wife.”

He said: “I heard about a rude version of the book that was brought out called Pride and Promiscuity, and I think that gave me the idea that you could re-write a classic novel in a different style.

“I started it just to see if it would work and found it came quite easily.

“There is an inference in the book that Mr Bennett is constantly winding his wife up so I have chosen words that fit in the style of a parody which is a bit cheeky - it could be a possible grave-turner."

An excerpt from the first chapter is a conversion between Mr and Mrs Bennett: “Our Jane is handsome, Lydia’s fun, But you still always think the sun, Although this next line may seem crass, Shines always out of Lizzy’s ass.”

“The truth,” said Bennet, “please don’t rant, Is that our girls are ignorant; But Lizzy, when she wears a garter, Can sometimes be just that bit smarter.”

“How can you speak of them like this, I wish you would not take the piss.”

Mr Crewdson added: “The plan is to publish the first ten chapters as a taster in February and complete the rest and publish the complete book in September.”