Here’s a delicious development. A crime novel that has gotten good reviews and was ostensibly written by a male author now turns out to have been written written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who didn’t want the secret out so soon. But now sales of the book are rising:
JK Rowling has secretly written a crime novel under the guise of male debut writer Robert Galbraith.
The Harry Potter author was acclaimed for The Cuckoo’s Calling, about a war veteran turned private investigator called Cormoran Strike.
The book had sold 1,500 copies before the secret emerged in the Sunday Times. Within hours, it rose more than 5,000 places to top Amazon’s sales list.
Rowling said she had “hoped to keep this secret a little longer”.
The author described “being Robert Galbraith” as a “such a liberating experience”.
“It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name,” she said in a statement.
Rowling said her editor, David Shelley, had been “a true partner in crime”.
While the book has zoomed up the bestseller charts of online outlets, Rowling enthusiasts keen to get their hands on a paper copy immediately might struggle.
High Street booksellers appear to have been caught completely unaware by the announcement, and are finding their meagre stocks are unable to match demand.
“We had one copy, but we sold it last week,” says lead bookseller Holly Popple of Waterstones in Piccadilly, central London. The few other copies scattered around sister branches have now also been sold or reserved, she reports.
Hatchard’s too, a nearby bookshop dating back to 1797, is bereft of copies: the few they had trickled off the shelves in recent weeks.
Meanwhile Brett, from Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street, says: “We had one or two copies this morning, but they’ve all disappeared by now.
“Everybody’s after it.”
“And to those who have asked for a sequel, Robert fully intends to keep writing the series, although he will probably continue to turn down personal appearances,” she added.
One reviewer described The Cuckoo’s Calling as a “scintillating debut”, while another praised the male author’s ability to describe women’s clothes.
It must be quite satisfying for Rowling because she wrote it under a fake name. This brings to mind the now debunked anecdote of how early movies comedian great Charlie Chaplin entered a contest not revealing who he was. It was a Charlie Chaplin look alike contest.
He didn’t win (so the fake story goes).
In this case, Rowlings finds that her quality shines through — no matter what name she puts on her work.