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JK Rowling unmasked as secret crime novelist

July 14, 2013 19:37 IST

British author J K Rowling, known all over the world for her popular Harry Potter series, has been unmasked as the writer behind a crime novel released recently. 

The Cuckoo's Calling, about a war veteran turned private investigator called Cormoran Strike, was released in April under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith to great critical acclaim.

"I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience," she told The Sunday Times after the newspaper uncovered the true identity of the author.

"It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name," she added.

One reviewer described the book as "a scintillating debut" and another praised the "male" author's ability to describe women's clothes.

It had so far sold 1,500 copies in hardback but Amazon reported sales rocketed by about 500,000 per cent as of noon on Sunday following the revelation.

A clue that Rowling was behind the novel was that she and "Galbraith" shared an agent and editor.

The book was published by Sphere, part of the Little, Brown Book Group, which published her foray into writing novels for adults, The Casual Vacancy.

The book's style and subject matter bore similarities to her other works, claims The Sunday Times which set about uncovering the truth behind how a first-time author could write such an assured debut novel.

Its plot centres on the death of a troubled model who falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony.

Her brother calls in Cormoran Strike, a damaged war veteran turned detective, to investigate her death.

Rowling said her editor, David Shelley, had been "a true partner in crime".

The fictitious Galbraith was supposed to have been a former plain-clothes Royal Military Police investigator who had left the armed forces in 2003 to work in the civilian security industry.

In previous interviews, Rowling has said she would prefer to write novels after Harry Potter under a pseudonym.

Sales from the seven books in the Harry Potter series amount to more than 237 million pound and now another Cormoran Strike book by Robert Galbraith is in the pipeline, to be published next year with unavoidable fan-fare.

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