Andrews wrote several popular books during her lifetime that were controversial because of their plots about incest and graphic family violence. After she died in 1986, Anita Diamant, her agent, and the head of Simon and Schuster’s mass-market division decided to hire a ghostwriter to continue her works. After an unsuccessful attempt by Diamant to write the books herself, professional novelist Andrew Neiderman was hired to carry out the task. Using computers to analyze Andrews’ style, Neiderman created several successful new novels. No credit for his authorship was given until the fifth book, in which only an acknowledgment of a “carefully selected writer” to finish the collection was noted. Critics claimed that it was fraudulent to use Andrews’ name on works she did not herself write. The legality of doing this was questioned when the Internal Revenue Service declared that marketing these books made the name “V.C. Andrews” itself a taxable asset worth more than one million dollars. Representatives for both Andrews’ estate and Simon and Schuster argued that the success of the posthumous novels could not have been foreseen, and sued for a tax refund of nearly one million dollars.
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