Rowling penned The Cuckoo's Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith

By Kristen Mascia
July 15, 2013 02:25 PM

So much for keeping a low profile!

In a truly neat trick, Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has published a crime novel called The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith – and she’s kept it a secret from the world until now.

Acting on a tip, The Sunday Times of London unmasked Rowling as the author of the critically acclaimed detective debut, which was released in April.

It seems that Rowling had a bit of fun crafting an author profile for Galbraith, who is described on Little, Brown and Company’s website as a former member of the Special Investigative Branch of the Royal Military Police who “left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry.”

“The idea for Cormoran Strike” – the book’s protagonist – “grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who returned to the civilian world,” the description went on.

Over the weekend Rowling confessed, lamenting the loss of her short but sweet anonymity as the book’s author.

“I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,” she said it a statement. “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”

And the feedback has been terrific.

Despite low sales – as of the Times story’s release the book had only 1,500 copies in the U.K. – the novel received several positive reviews, including one from Publisher’s Weekly, which praised Galbraith for combining “a complex and compelling sleuth and an equally well-formed and unlikely assistant with a baffling crime in his stellar debut.”

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Unsurprisingly, since Rowling was outed as the author, sales have skyrocketed: as of today, hardcover copies were “temporarily out of stock” on the websites for Barnes & Noble and Amazon in both the U.S. and the U.K.

And fans of her latest effort have more to look forward to.

In her statement, Rowling – who released her first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy to mixed reviews – assured fans, “Robert fully intends to keep writing the series, although he will probably continue to turn down personal appearances.”