Did You Hear About J.K. Rowling’s New Detective Novel? The Best-Selling ‘Harry Potter’ Author Wrote a Book as a Male British Army Officer, Earning Raves but Few Sales

Jul 15, 2013  •  Post A Comment

The debut novel from a former British Army officer was published in April and earned rave reviews yet few sales, but there was a secret lurking behind the male name on the cover of "The Cuckoo’s Calling": It was actually written by best-selling author J.K. Rowling, reports The New York Times.

Some readers praised the book but questioned whether it could have actually been a first novel because of its sophistication and assurance, the story notes. Despite earning rave reviews, it had sold just 1,500 copies in Britain.

The U.K.’s Sunday Times uncovered the author’s identity after receiving a tip that the writer was the famed "Harry Potter" writer, the story says. (The Sunday Times is a subscription website, so access to the story isn’t available to every reader.)

The Sunday Times found that the detective novel and Rowling’s recent adult novel "The Casual Vacancy" shared the same agent, publisher and editor in Britain. The newspaper also hired computer linguistic experts to compare the two novels and the last "Harry Potter" novel. The result? The books had significant similarities.

The Sunday Times’ arts editor Richard Brooks then said he confronted Rowling. "I e-mailed a blunt question: ‘I believe that Robert Galbraith is in fact J. K. Rowling, and will you please come back with a straightforward answer?,’” he tells The New York Times.

Rowling’s spokeswoman responded that the writer had decided to admit her authorship.

The New York Times notes: "Ms. Rowling now stands to make a lot of money from this new book, and so do the publishers. One interesting aspect of the whole story is how Little, Brown essentially colluded in keeping a secret that caused it, at least until now, to forgo possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue."

As of Monday morning on Amazon, "The Cuckoo’s Calling" was ranked No. 2 on its best-seller list, having spent only two days in the top 100, following Rowling’s unmasking.

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