J.K. Rowling, she of “Harry Potter” fame, had a secret. She had written a detective novel using a pen name, a not unusual tactic for an author identified with a particular genre who wants to diversify without the handicap of reader and critic biases. The usual course, as practiced by other popular writers like Stephen King, is to launch the new novel or novels under a pseudonym (King’s was Richard Bachman), harvest positive reviews and healthy sales without their true identities being known, and then give sales another boost by tearing off the mask.
But Robert Galbraith, author of the detective novel “Cuckoo’s Calling,” was outed to the press as Ms. Rowling prematurely, and Harry’s creator was understandably miffed. Who did it? All the suspects shrugged,looked behind them, and exclaimed, “Not me!”, perhaps afraid of being turned into a rat, a fate the inventor of Hogwarts is probably capable of executing. Finally, however, the truth emerged: the culprit was one of her lawyers. Continue reading