A crime thriller purported to have been written by a male novelist and praised for its perceptive insight into female psyche has turned out to be the work of J.K. Rowling.

The Harry Potter creator put her hands up and admitted that she was the real author of The Cuckoo’s Calling, published under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith and hailed as a "scintillating debut’’, after The Sunday Times — suspecting that there was more to this "whodunnit’’ than met the eye — confronted her.

Rowling said she had "hoped to keep this secret a little longer’’ describing writing under a pseudonym as "a liberating experience’’.

"It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name,” she said.

Rowling called her editor David Shelley "a true partner in crime".

"And to those who have asked for a sequel, Robert fully intends to keep writing the series, although he will probably continue to turn down personal appearances," she said.

The book-chain Waterstones described it as "the best act of literary deception since Stephen King was outed as Richard Bachman back in the 1980s.’’

One publisher, who turned down the novel, not knowing the real identity of the author, was distraught.

"So, I can now say that I turned down J.K. Rowling. I did read and say no to Cuckoo's Calling. Anyone else going to confess?’’ tweeted Kate Mills, fiction editor at Orion Books.

Sales of the book shot up after Rowling was revealed as its author with Amazon reporting that they were up by more "500,000 per cent’’. Published in April, The Cuckoo’s Calling had sold only 1,500 copies so far despite good reviews.

The Sunday Times said it started investing after becoming suspicious how a first-time author “with a background in the army and the civilian security industry” could write such an assured debut novel. It was also intrigued by the fact that "Galbraith’’ and Rowling shared the same literary agent and editor, and that the novel was published by Sphere, part of Little, Brown, which published Rowling’s last novel, The Casual Vacancy.