Beloved Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is no slacker. Less that a year after publishing her first novel for adults,The Casual Vacancy, she rushed out a mystery novel called The Cuckoo’s Calling. But unlike the much-hypedVacancy, she published The Cuckoo’s Calling this spring under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith — a secret that has only just come to light this weekend.
In a statement to The Sunday Times of London, which followed up an anonymous tip with some literary sleuthing, Rowling fessed up that she is indeed Galbraith: “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.”
Despite some sterling reviews (Publisher’s Weekly declared it a “stellar debut”), the book has barely made a sales ripple either in the U.K. or the U.S. It was published stateside in late April by Muholland Books, a three-year-old imprint of Little, Brown (which released The Casual Vacancy). One expects sales to explode now that Rowling has been revealed as the true author.
The Cuckoo’s Calling introduces a London private investigator named Cormoran Strike, an Afghanistan war veteran with an artificial lower leg, and his inquisitive office temp, Robin Ellacott, as they look into the supposed suicide of a high-profile supermodel named Lula Landry. One thing is certain: Strikingly original character names continue to be a Rowling hallmark.
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Little, Brown publisher Reagan Arthur said in a statement that the company is planning to reprint the book with a revised author biography that reads: “Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling.” In addition, she announced, “We are really looking forward to publishing the second book in the Strike series next summer.”