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Mulholland Books pulls 'Assassin of Secrets' over copied passages

November 8, 2011 | 11:24 am

AssassinofsecretsMulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown, has pulled its novel "Assassin of Secrets" after passages were found to be copied from other spy novels. The book was a first novel from Q.R. Markham. The paperback original was published Nov. 3.

In a statement, Michael Pietsch, executive vice president and publisher of Little, Brown and Co.,  said: "Upon investigation,  it was clear the passages in question were lifted, and Little, Brown determined that the only course of action was to immediately recall books from retailers across the country."

The passages in question, which were not shared with the press, were lifted from James Bond books by Ian Fleming and thrillers by Robert Ludlum and Christopher McCrary, the Associated Press reports.

In October, Markham wrote an essay for the Huffington Post titled, "9 Ways That Spy Novels Made Me a Better Bookseller." Markham wrote that he writes under a pen name and that he is co-owner of Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers in Brooklyn. In his essay, he wrote, "Once I'd gotten into the mindset of a Cold War-era superspy, it was hard to leave. I began to notice certain similarities between my day job and my night-time work. I found myself not only making decisions the way Chase would, but recognizing where the methodology came from, whether it be Ian Fleming's M., Le Carre's George Smiley, or Nicholas Hel's Go teacher." Markham's tumblr has also been taken down.

In the statement from Little, Brown, Pietch said, "We take great pride in the writers and books we publish and tremendous care in every aspect of our publishing process, so it is with deep regret that we have published a book that we can no longer stand behind. Our goal is to never have this happen, but when it does, it is important to us to communicate with and compensate readers and retailers as quickly as possible."

The company will give full credit to wholesalers who return the book, and it has asked consumers to seek refunds for the book from the retailer where they bought it.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

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