Robert Galbraith, whose debut detective novel The Cuckoo's Calling recently debuted to critical acclaim, is actually none other than JK Rowling.
The Sunday Times revealed last weekend that Galbraith was just a pseudonym for the Harry Potter author, one of the best-known writers today.
Times arts editor Richard Brooks said his colleague, India Knight, was reading the book and tweeted about how good it was, especially for a debut.
"A very interesting reply came back, which said, it's not a debut novel, it's by an existing author," he told NPR. "So India tweeted back and said, 'Who?'"
"And a very straightforward, simple reply came back: 'J.K. Rowling,'" Brooks says. Then the Tweet, and Tweeter, were gone "like a Harry Potter spell."
"Gone. No trace!"
Brooks says he was skeptical at first, but "started doing a little investigation" and learned that Galbraith shared the same literary agency as Rowling.
Mysteriously, there was no picture of Robert Galbraith on the literarcy agency website. "Just a silhouette. Black silhouette. I was suspicious."
Brooks then learned the two authors shared a publisher as well, and sent the book to two linguistic analysts who compared it to Rowling's other work.
"Both said that this book, The Cuckoo's Calling, had similarities in style of writing, the words that were used, punctuation, to J.K. Rowling's books."
Initially, Brooks says, he played a "cat and mouse game" with the publisher:
"I ... went to them and said I'd been reading this Cuckoo's Calling book, and I didn't think it was actually written by this guy Robert Galbraith.
"I said, 'Who is he? Can I interview him?' And they came back and said, 'Sorry, no.' So, then I put a very, very direct question: Is it Rowling?"
His suspicions were eventually confirmed, and J.K. Rowling herself said that writing under a pseudonym was a "liberating" experience for her.
So, was it all a stunt? And who was the mystery Tweeter?
"I'm aware of [the possibility] ... That original tweet, perhaps, might have been from Rowling herself," Brooks said. "Who wanted to be outed? Who knows?"