A British law firm admitted Thursday that one of its partners inadvertently divulged that J.K. Rowling had authored a mystery novel, The Cuckoo's Calling.
The Sunday Times of London newspaper revealed over the weekend that the Harry Potter author had penned the book under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
The newspaper said it had received a tip-off on Twitter, and there was speculation that Rowling or her publisher were behind the revelation — which has sent sales of the thriller skyrocketing.
After the paper started their speculations, they turned to computer linguistics expert Peter Millican at England’s Oxford University.
He also joined CBC Day 6 guest host Kevin Sylvester to explain how the computer software he developed unmasked Rowling.
Millican compared the new novel against two of Rowlings other books – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Casual Vacancy – as well as six other crime novels by three different authors.
"It was actually relatively simple to get quite a lot of positive evidence," said Millican.
The program’s algorithm assesses word length, sentence length, punctuation, paragraph length as well as the usage of common words to draw similar patterns between the literary works.
Listen to the full interview here.