J K Rowling,the celebrated Harry Potter novelist,has been unmasked as the author of an acclaimed new detective novel that she wrote under the guise of a male debut writer.
The Harry Potter creator,purporting to be Robert Galbraith,a former military man,won plaudits from top crime writers who read the book without knowing she was behind it.
The Cuckoos Calling,which features a war veteran turned private investigator called Cormoran Strike,was published to critical acclaim in April. The plot follows Strikes investigation into the death of a model in Mayfair,an upmarket district of London. One reviewer described it as a scintillating debut. Another praised the male authors ability to describe womens clothes.
Rowlings authorship was uncovered by The Sunday Times after it investigated how a first-time author with a background in the army and the civilian security industry could write such an assured debut novel.
The Cuckoos Calling had sold around 1,500 copies in hardback. However,in the hours after Rowling was named as its author,it shot up the bestseller charts. It was listed as the third biggest seller on Amazon.co.uk on Sunday,having entered the top 100 only the day before.
I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation,and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name, Rowling said Saturday.
The Sunday Times said Rowling has already written the second Cormoran Strike novel and it is due to be published next year
The clues that pointed to Rowlings authorship include the fact that she and Galbraith share an agent and editor. The book was published by Sphere,part of Little,Brown,which published The Casual Vacancy,Rowlings novel for adults,last year.
The books style and subject matter bore similarities to her other works,the paper said.