Publisher Little, Brown confirmed that Harry Potter author JK Rowling will publish another crime novel using her pen name, Robert Galbraith. The new novel, The Silkworm, is the second installment in the Cormoran Strike series (following the critically acclaimed The Cuckoo’s Calling). It will be published on June 19 in the U.K. and June 24 in the U.S.
Rowling published her crime novel as Robert Galbraith, enjoying relative secrecy until she was publicly outed on Twitter. “So began a series of events that would lead to the unmasking of Robert Galbraith as JK Rowling, The Cuckoo’s Calling’s rise from 4,709th position in the Amazon sales chart to number one, and a search for the source of the biggest leak in recent publishing history,” The Telegraph said of the outing. The world-famous Harry Potter author originally chose a pen name to “work without hype or expectation and to receive totally unvarnished feedback,” according to NPR. The author sought legal recourse and donated her winnings from the case to charity.
Rumors that the Twitter conversation was a publicity stunt were just that — rumors. In a public statement, Russells Solicitors apologized for partner Chris Gossage’s lack of disclosure: “We, Russells Solicitors, apologise unreservedly for the disclosure caused by one of our partners, Chris Gossage, in revealing to his wife’s best friend, Judith Callegari, during a private conversation that the true identity of Robert Galbraith was in fact JK Rowling. We can confirm that this leak was not part of any marketing plan and that neither JK Rowling, her agent nor publishers were in any way involved.”
In The Silkworm, detective Cormoran Strike must investigate the mysterious death of author Owen Quine. A description on Robert Galbraith’s official site delves deeper into the plot: “[Quine] has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives — so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him. And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before.”
Rowling recently made headlines for speculating on Harry and Hermione’s relationship in an interview with Hermione actress Emma Watson. The interview, published in Wonderland, caused a tremendous amount of social media buzz; many resisted Rowling’s admission that Harry and Hermione should have had a romantic relationship.