J. K. Rowling is not writing a crime novel. This isn’t a hoax, or even a prank, but simply a joke retold out of context. The culprit? Ian Rankin, sort of. From the Guardian (“Rowling’s ‘crime novel’ is a red herring,” by Richard Lea):
Speculation that the Edinburgh book festival may have resolved one of the burning questions of modern publishing – what JK Rowling will write next – have been dashed this afternoon, when the Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin diagnosed a case of festival fever.
A report that his wife, Miranda, had seen JK Rowling “scribbling away” in an Edinburgh café, supposedly hard at work on a detective novel set in the Scottish capital, was dismissed as a classic silly season story when the Guardian contacted him by telephone earlier today.
“This is a joke that got out of hand,” said Rankin, describing how the remark was made on stage during the course of a festival event.
“There were 600 people in the audience, and only one person didn’t laugh,” he added.
Well there he goes, depriving us of punny Harry Potter-related headlines for the next year or two.