By now almost everyone will have heard the news — J.K. Rowling, the author of the "Harry Potter" series of books and one of the most successful writers ever, published a low-selling but highly praised detective novel under the name Robert Galbraith earlier this year.
The story was broken last night by Richard Brooks , the arts editor of the UK's Sunday Times. It's clearly a huge scoop — but how exactly did Brooks manage to crack the literary world's best-kept secret?
Thanks to Sarah Lyall of the New York Times, we believe we know the point where the investigation began. In an interview, Brooks told Lyall that the story started when a female colleague tweeted about the book, and an anonymous twitter user told this colleague that the book was in fact by J.K. Rowling. This anonymous twitter user then disappeared, according to Brooks' account.
After doing some digging, we believe we may have found the tweet. On Wednesday, India Knight, one of the Sunday Times' star columnists, began tweeting about "The Cuckoo's Calling." Here's one key tweet:
The book I'm reading (detective nov called The Cuckoo's Call, Robert Galbraith, so good, feat. ghastly cokey v thin Mayfair women) has ++— India Knight (@indiaknight) July 10, 2013
At this point a random Twitter user chimed in to say something about the obscure book . While this user appears to have since deleted the tweets, you can see Knight's surprised responses:
It's unclear exactly who Jude Callegari is, or how he or she would know the real identity of Robert Galbraith. The account is still active, though it has no tweets since July 2.
Whomever it was sent by, the anonymous tweet was enough to get Brooks digging, and soon he had found that "The Cuckoo's Calling" had the same publisher, editor, and agent as Rowling's last book, “The Casual Vacancy." The books also shared themes in their linguistics and content, Brooks noted.
By Friday night he had enough to go to Rowling with his findings — and by Saturday morning, she had confessed, though she told the Sunday Times she had "hoped to keep this secret a little longer."
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