The Real Book Thief – Ingrid Black


Published on 12 April 2016 and available on Amazon here

In October 2015, crime writer Ingrid Black discovered that her first novel The Dead, the story of a former FBI agent tracking down a serial killer in Dublin, had been plagiarised and was being sold under a different name by another author on Kindle.

The thief’s name was Joanne Clancy, a former Kindle All Star, and the book that she called Tear Drop was No 1 in the Irish crime fiction charts at the time. Not only that, but she had a second book scheduled for release in a few weeks time, and that one turned out to be a carbon copy of Ingrid Black’s second book about the same character, The Dark Eye. The Real Book Thief tells the story of how Ingrid Black discovered what had happened and how she went about trying to find out more about the mysterious woman who had stolen her work.

My thoughts

Ingrid Black is the pseudonym of husband and wife writing team, Eilis O’Hanlon and Ian McConnell. In 2015, they discovered that their book ‘The Dead’ (2003) had been plagiarised by someone calling themselves ‘Joanne Clancy’ as ‘Teardrop’ (2015). This is their real life crime story.

Recently I became aware of the Joanne Clancy plagiarism case. To say I was shocked is an understatement. In February 2015, I was contacted by Joanne Clancy on Goodreads and asked to review ‘I Should Have Told You’. I never actually got further than a few pages into the book. It didn’t impress me. I never published a review.

I do feel for the reviewers and readers who did read any of the Joanne Clancy books. We review on trust. We invest masses of time and energy into what is a fabulous pastime. It is a shock to realise that there are those out there ready to exploit our passion for books.

The Real Book Thief details the thought processes and agony that the Ingrid Black authors went through. They discovered via Twitter that someone had ripped off their book. In fact, someone was making money from it. Joanne Clancy was a best selling Irish author and had been regularly churning out books for a few years. They tried in vain to search for Joanne Clancy. They just wanted answers and to understand what had happened.

This is both fascinating and disturbing. I have never come across plagiarism before, in this context. I am sure, that it is difficult to copy another person’s book and pass it off as your own. I fear that ‘Joanne Clancy’ is not just individual acting alone, but part of something so much bigger. The audacity of her amazes me. At least the work of ‘Joanne Clancy’ is no longer available to buy on Amazon. I still find it hard to believe that I had a brief contact with this book thief in 2015. I hope that this does not put reviewers and readers off seeking out new authors.

I suppose we should not be surprised. If this was a case in a work of fiction, we would all probably be nodding our heads and thinking what a clever storyline.


About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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3 Responses to The Real Book Thief – Ingrid Black

  1. crimeworm says:

    This is fascinating Christine, particularly you having contact with “Joanne Clancy”. This could be happening to other authors who are oblivious, as there are so many books out there. I can imagine it was probably a real nightmare sorting it out with Amazon too! I thought “sock puppetry” was the worst thing that went on! Thanks for featuring this.

    • Christine says:

      Least it was only minimal contact, Linda. She sent me a few messages on Goodreads and the book via an Amazon voucher. I never was suspicious of her. She just seemed friendly, like all the others who approach us. I actually felt a bit guilty for not reading her book. Then I heard about it all on Twitter… Those poor authors! I just cannot understand plagiarism. Surely you want credit for your work, not to copy someone else’s labour of love? I hope many more get caught like this one. Sock-puppetry still baffles me. Authors have access to book reviewers and readers via Facebook and Twitter. Why fake reviews, when you can easily get genuine ones?

      • crimeworm says:

        I’ve never heard of an Amazon voucher, for you to get a book to review I mean. I’ve got a couple of independent books I must read, but not got round to (no surprise there!) I’m reading loads but can’t get into review mode at all – but I’m definitely going to do a lot this week! I’ve just finished The Lost by Claire McGowan – bloody brilliant! Have you read the new Sharon Bolton? If so I missed your review. Got it here, dying to read it. Are you on The Evolution Of Fear blog tour?

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