Sunday, July 14, 2013

J.K. Rowling writes a well-reviewed detective novel under a pseudonym and almost gets away with it

Remember J.K. Rowling? Yeah her. Richer than the Queen, owner of a castle, writer of a children's series about magic.

Last year she published a novel called 'Casual vacancy'. Got solid reviews and did pretty well on the charts. Then she retreated back into her cocoon. Around April a detective novel purportedly by a debutant author writing under a pseudonym was published in Britain.

Called 'The cuckoo's calling', this novel was well received by all quarters. Reviewers praised its complexity and the sophistication. The author, 'Robert Galbraith', was said to be an ex-military officer writing under a pseudonym.

The only problem was: the novel seemed way too well put together for a first-time author. Late last week, people at Sunday Times of London got some anonymous tip from (where else?) twitter that the author was actually J.K. Rowling. Further snooping revealed that the this book and 'Casual vacancy' shared an agent and an editor. Additionally computer linguistic analysis of one of the Harry Potter books and this novel revealed enough similarities to suggest that she was indeed the author.

Today she fessed up in an article saying that being Galbraith was a "liberating" experience. As I write this, the book has shot up Amazon's bestseller list. Rowling has indicated a planned sequel is still in the works and will come out next year.

Now of course this could all be part of an elaborate campaign by the publisher, but it is still borderline miraculous that something as monumental as this managed to stay secret for so long.

Ponder this as I scoot away to buy a copy from my local bookstore.

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