Debut Novel Cut for Plagiarism

By Jason Boog Comment

Q.R. Markham‘s debut spy novel Assassin of Secrets has been cut by Little, Brown’s Mulholland Books.

Publisher Michael Pietsch had this comment: “[I]t 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.”

Edward Champion has collected examples of lifted passages. The author’s bio and book have been removed at Mulholland Books, but you can read his biography at his UK publisher’s site: “Markham has been a parks department employee, laundry-truck driver, door-to-door knife salesman, telemarketer, rock ‘n’ roll bassist, literary scout, book-reviewer, small business owner, and consultant. His writing has appeared in the Paris Review, Bomb Magazine, Witness, The New York Post, and more.”

In October, the author published the essay “9 Ways That Spy Novels Made Me A Better Bookseller.” An excerpt: “From the great fictional spymasters like George Smiley, I learned how to be cold in my mind: free from values and concerned with nothing but the results of an action. I learned about balance. The whole thing is kept together by the balance of its parts. As a bookstore owner, that is what I have learned to love, that little oscillation when all the fields of energy – customer, distributor, publisher – are hanging right.”


Publishers Marketplace news director Sarah Weinman added: “It is worth noting that QR Markham is really Quentin Rowan, a co-owner of Spoonbill & Sugartown in Williamsburg.”

The Huffington Post has already mounted a hunt for lifted material: “You can read excerpts from the pulled book here. Can you spot any directly copied material?”

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated as the story evolved.