Last updated at 15:57 BST, Monday, 15 July 2013

Book author mystery

Summary

15 July 2013

It's been revealed that the Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, has secretly written a crime novel under a false male name. "The Cuckoo's Calling" was published in April and is about a war veteran turned private investigator.

Reporter:

Martin Vennard

JK Rowling

What has Robert Galbraith got to do with the author JK Rowling?

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It was something of a literary mystery. How was Robert Galbraith, a former military policeman, able to produce such an assured debut novel?

Extract from the book:
The face was crushed and swollen, one eye reduced to a pucker, the other showing as a sliver of dull white between distended lids. When the sequinned top she wore glittered in slight changes of light, it gave a disquieting impression of movement, as though she breathed again.

And now it turns out that Robert Galbraith is actually the nom de plume of none other than JK Rowling. The secret was only discovered when Britain's Sunday Times newspaper realised that Galbraith and Rowling shared the same agent and editor. Computer analysis showed they used similar phrases and styles.

It was also not the first time Rowling had hidden her gender, having chosen to be called JK rather than Joanne when she was first published.

Rowling confessed. In mitigation, she said she wanted to know how her book would be received without her name and that she had found it a liberating experience.

The book had sold fifteen hundred copies before Sunday, and now the mystery has been solved it is number one in the Amazon best seller list.

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Vocabulary

a literary mystery

something strange or unexplained about a book or someone who writes books

assured

strong or confident

debut

first performance or presentation

it turns out

it has been discovered

nom de plume

French phrase to mean: false name given by a writer

gender

sex; male or female

confessed

admitted to doing something

mitigation

giving reasons why something you have done is not so bad

liberating

a feeling of freedom