I’m re-reading David Lodge’s wonderful Changing Places, and have just noticed for the first time that his American characters don’t consistently speak American. So far I’ve encountered “WC” for “toilet,” “pram” for “baby-carriage,” “towelling” for “terrycloth,” “sport” for “sports,” and “marketing” for “shopping.”
Lodge isn’t alone, of course. One of Len Deighton’s American bureaucrats talks about the Navy “estimates” (meaning appropriations) and plans to call the “second secretary” of a Senator, where in context he’d want the legislative director.
Any of these errors could have been caught by having an American copy-edit the manuscript, though in the Deighton instance it would have had to be someone familiar with Washington jargon.
No doubt English characters in American novels make similar errors.
I know the publishing business is always in a financial squeeze, and I don’t expect novels to be fact-checked, but these are unforced errors. I wonder if the book reviewers ever bother to comment on them?