It's not usually the sort of thing most people consider when they pick up a book to read it, but when one man started reading at the weekend, he could hardly have been less prepared for the news he was about to learn about the nature of the author's death.
Moys Kenwood, 57, sat down for a pleasant afternoon's reading on Sunday, and chose a copy of Guy de Maupassant's 'A Parisian Bourgeois' Sundays and Other Stories' to while away an hour or two.
What he read in the book's Introduction, however, darkened the day.
The Frenchman had died, aged only 42, from cerebral syphilis.
Monsieur de Maupassant, who was 'a bit of a lad' in his day, could never pass a brothel without having a look around inside, and often had more than a look.
It was inevitable, really.
"When I picked the book up, I wasn't thinking about his cause of M. de Maupassant's death. It never entered my head ... not like it did his! Who would have thought it, eh? Syphilis!"
He said that, despite this horror, the book was quite good.