Synopsis of Plot It Yourself
In Plot It Yourself, someone has been getting away with a different spin on plagiarism.
It’s the old scam – an unsuccessful author stealing ideas from an established source – but it’s being worked differently.
Now, the plagiarists are claiming that the well-known authors are stealing from them.
And they are making their claims stick: three successful claims in four years, one awaiting trial, and one that’s just been made.
These claims have damaged both the publishers and the authors.
The Book Publishers of America (BPA) and the National Association of Authors and Dramatists (NAAD) form a joint committee taht comes to Wolfe for help.
The first four claims have shared certain characteristics.
In the first, for example, the best selling author Ellen Sturdevant is accused by the virtually unknown Alice Porter of stealing a recent book’s plot from a story that Porter sent her, asking her suggestions for improvement.
Sturdevant ignores the accusation until Porter’s manuscript is found in Sturdevant’s house. The writing and publishing industry is convinced that the manuscript was planted, but the case was settled out of court.
That scenario, with minor variations, is repeated four times, with other authors and by other plagiarists.
Wolfe’s first step is to acquire and read the manuscripts that form the basis for the complaints.
From the internal evidence in the manuscripts, Wolfe concludes that they were all written by the same person and meets with the joint committee to discuss the situation.
A committee member suggests that one of the plagiarists be offered money, along with a guarantee of immunity, to identify the manuscripts’ actual author.
The committee concurs, and asks Wolfe to arrange for the offer to be made to Simon Jacobs.
The next day, Archie goes to make the offer to Jacobs, but finds Sergeant Purley Stebbins at the Jacobs apartment: Mr. Jacobs has been murdered, stabbed to death the night before.
In short order, Archie discovers two more dead plagiarists. Wolfe blames himself for not taking steps to protect Jacobs and the others, who had been made targets by the plan to pay for information.
Synopsis of Plot It Yourself taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plot_It_Yourself