JK Rowling – isn’t that clever marketing?

I enjoy a good detective yarn and with the unmasking of JK Rowling as the author of the acclaimed The Cuckoo’s Calling, we have a case worthy of Inspectors Lewis and Foyle combined.  What a clever marketing ploy!

The debut crime novel by Robert Galbraith had elicited great reviews when first published, but it was this very praise which roused suspicion.  A first novel, so brilliant – how peculiar!  Spyglass in hand, literary sleuths drew up their incident board (see how I’m combining the classic with the contemporary – yes, I watch a lot of detective dramas): same agent, no photograph of Galbraith on the agency website, publishing houses linked, senior editorial figure handling a new author…curiouser and curiouser.

With sufficient grounds for further investigation, two independent computer linguistic experts are called in (a new JK Rowling novel?  This could be massive – call in the big guns, figuratively speaking, of course). Peter Millican from the University of Oxford (he must know Morse)  and Patrick Juola from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh both conclude that there are similarities in phrases and styles between the new novel, A Casual Vacancy and the Harry Potter novels.  Aha!

Combine all of this with Rowling’s confessed love of the crime genre and the expressed wish to write under a pseudonym and voila!  The Sunday Times rests its case.  Rowling confesses (‘It has been wonderful to publish without hype and expectation’) and Amazon sells out.  Novel shoots to top of best seller list, literary sleuthing has it’s ‘man’ and Rowling’s bank balance expands even further.  Cue credits and lots of ‘I told you so’.

I’ve never managed to finish any of the Harry Potter novels, and A Casual Vacancy had such mixed reviews I wasn’t tempted, but even I am contemplating a purchase now

If that isn’t clever marketing, I don’t know what is!

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