Exclusive: JK Rowling exposed as Robert Galbraith by woman from Surrey

When Harry Potter author JK Rowling was revealed to have written a crime novel under the pen name Robert Galbraith, cynics claimed it was a deliberate leak designed to boost sales of the book.

But now City A.M. can reveal that the woman who sparked the hunt for the real author behind “The Cuckoo’s Calling” is Judith – aka Jude – Callegari, a mother-of-two from Claygate in Surrey.

The search started on Wednesday 10 July when Jude replied to this Tweet sent at 11.34pm by Sunday Times columnist India Knight.

The New York Times later explained how this sparked the hunt for the real author.

The story of how The Sunday Times uncovered the truth is an odd one that involves, as seems so often the case these days, Twitter. It started on Thursday, said Richard Brooks, the paper’s arts editor, after one of his colleagues happened to post a tweet mentioning that she had loved “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” and that it did not seem as if the book had been written by a novice.

“After midnight she got a tweet back from an anonymous person saying it’s not a first-time novel — it was written by J. K. Rowling,” Mr. Brooks said in an interview. “So my colleague tweeted back and said, ‘How do you know for sure?’ ”

The person replied, “I just know,” and then proceeded to delete all his (or her) tweets and to close down the Twitter account, Mr. Brooks said. “All traces of this person had been taken off, and we couldn’t find his name again.

Knight replied shortly after midnight

Jude has since deleted her entire Tweet history.

The Sunday Times claims that this Tweet then provided the basis of their front page story.

However, it remains unclear how Callegari came to know the identity of the real author behind The Cuckoo’s Nest, which was known only to a handful of people close to JK Rowling.

No one at the Callegari household was willing to comment when contacted by City A.M. this morning and Jude’s husband, City employment lawyer Paul Callegari, did not reply to repeated requests for comment.

Follow me on Twitter: @jimwaterson.