Cover Stories: Thwarted plot; Athens 2004; John Peel

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Penguin US is poised to announce further details of a book by Larry J Kolb, author of The Reluctant Spy.

Penguin US is poised to announce further details of a book by Larry J Kolb, author of The Reluctant Spy. The publisher is hinting at a thwarted plot to disrupt the elections that has seen one arrest and others under investigation. The plotters in question are described as "rogue CIA agents with long ties to the Republican National Committee", who concocted a scheme to create the impression of a trail of financial contributions from al-Qa'ida directly to "a high-ranking Kerry official". Kolb uncovered the plot while working for the Department of Homeland Security.

* Do the British love a modest winner more than a plucky loser, or vice versa? We'll soon find out. In early December, Virgin Books will publish Kelly Holmes's account of Athens 2004. My Olympic Ten Days will offer "her thoughts, hopes and fears" as she progressed to her double gold on the track. Just a few days earlier, Paula Radcliffe's My Story So Far will have arrived from Simon & Schuster.

* When John Peel died, his memoirs remained unfinished, though it's not yet clear how unfinished. Transworld, who paid close to £1.5m, had planned to publish next autumn, with delivery pencilled in for early 2005. It's possible that the ever-conscientious Peel was up to schedule and had left a detailed outline. Orion has already leapt in with an instant "affectionate biography" by Mick Wall, due out on 25 November.

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