J.K. Rowling, author of the vastly successful Harry Potter book series, also took a successful anonymous leap into the field of crime novels, the Sunday Times reported.
Using the nom de plume "Robert Galbraith," Rowling was unmasked as the author of The Cuckoo's Calling, which involves veteran-turned-private investigator Comoran Brown's efforts to uncover who is behind the death of model Lula Landry, which is initially ruled a suicide.
The book was published by Sphere, a division of Little, Brown and Company, which described Galbraith online as a pseudonym belonging to a former Royal Military Police operative in England who "left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry."
"I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience," Rowling told the Times. "It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name."
The Times reported that it began looking into Galbraith's identity after being impressed that such a work could come from a first-time author, commissioning two different linguistic experts, Patrick Juola from Duquesne University and Peter Millican from Oxford University, who used a computer program built to detect text similarities between "his" writing and other detective novels.
Millican told the Times he found it "striking" that the writing in Cuckoo's Calling was actually much closer to Rowling's first public post-Potter work, A Casual Vacancy, as well as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, than the other crime books.
According to The Leaky Cauldron, a Harry Potter fansite, Cuckoo's Calling has garnered high marks among both critics and readers, and a second Galbraith novel will be published later in 2013.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]