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J.K. Rowling quietly published a crime novel—all the way back in April

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J.K. Rowling has a new book out—a book that has, in fact, been out for months. Rowling has just been unmasked as the author of the crime novel The Cuckoo's Calling, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.


The Times reports that Rowling admitted to being the author of the novel, which was released in April, saying:

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.


And early feedback seems to be quite positive. In Publisher's Weekly a review writes, "In a rare feat, the pseudonymous Galbraith combines a complex and compelling sleuth and an equally well-formed and unlikely assistant with a baffling crime in his stellar debut."

From the Daily Mail: "Just once in a while a new private detective emerges who captures the public imagination in a flash; and here is one who might well do that - Cormoran Strike, a bear-like ex-soldier with a prosthetic lower leg and a gloomy outlook, who also happens to be the son of a Seventies rock star."

The National adds: "Despite sounding a bit cliched, this tale rattles along nicely and looks a decent blueprint for a TV show. Perfect holiday reading and I suspect we'll be hearing more about Strike soon."

The Times credits two linguistics researchers, Peter Millican from Oxford and Patrick Juola from Duquesne University, with uncovering the mystery of the mystery novel. The pair was commissioned to compare The Cuckoo's Calling with Rowling's other novels using a program designed to identify textual similarities following suggestions that Rowling and Galbraith were one and the same author. (Based in part on the fact that they share a publisher and editor.) They found that the writing in The Cuckoo's Calling was much closer to the writing in Rowling's books, like The Casual Vacancy and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, than to the writing in other crime novels.


It makes sense that Rowling would want to get away from the expectations that surrounded The Casual Vacancy (though I do wonder why she selected a male pseudonym in particular). For now, it seems that Rowling is sticking with crime as a genre. The next Robert Galbraith book is due out next year.

Whodunnit? JK Rowling’s secret life as wizard crime writer revealed [The Times via The Leaky Cauldron] Hat tip to Darnell!