The plagiarist will see you now, Mr. Bond

Picture of Sean Connery and Eunice Gayson in Have you got an instant collector's item? Check your bookshelves for a copy of the recent thriller, "Assassin of Secrets" by Q. R. Markham - it's been withdrawn and recalled as publishers and reviewers realised they'd been suckered in by a patchwork of plagiarised sections from other books including James Bond - although not the Ian Fleming originals.
In fact the author's name, a pseudonym, was the first clue. Q is of course James Bond's quartermaster (hence the name) and R. Markham was Kingsley Amis' pseudonym when he wrote the first non-Ian Fleming James Bond book, "Colonel Sun".

More non-Bonds

Withdrawing the book has cost thousands in actual cash but, one suspects, even more in lost reputation. The Sunday Times reported yesterday on one critic who'd been completely taken in and gave the publisher a quote saying it was an "instant classic". He then noticed James Bond fan groups were a bit up in arms as they recognised passages from the first John Gardner 007 book, "License Renewed", and from the Raymond Benson Bond effort, "Zero Minus Ten".

(Non-Bond fans will be bemused to learn that the Ian Fleming estate has allowed a number of authors to write Bond, most recently Sebastian Faulks and Jeffrey Deaver - not as big business as the movies but big in publishing nonetheless).

The story continued and other readers spotted other authors' work in the book, including Charles McCarry and Robert Ludlum. The Sunday Times says there are at least 13 authors whose work has been woven somehow into a coherent whole, which makes a satisfying novel in its own right.


Of course copyright is infringed all over the place in this case and the books have been withdrawn, probably pulped. So there will be very few out there.

Any monetary value will depend on whether the book gains any real notoriety. Amazon still has it listed but unavailable in the UK; eBay in the UK has one starting at a tenner.

EBay in the US, meanwhile, has one currently at $270. It remains to be seen whether it sells. But this sort of story and notoriety in particular often sparks a lot of interest - loads of people will want one just to say they've got it.
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