On Friday, the literary world in Spain was turned on its head after the acclaimed female crime thriller author "Carmen Mola" was revealed to be the pseudonym of three men when awarded a coveted book prize.
When taking the state at the Planeta awards on Friday, television scriptwriters Agustín Martínez, Jorge Díaz, and Antonio Mercero shocked guests, including Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia, when they said that the crime author does not exist, according to CNN.
Mola's agent describes the writer on their website as a "Madrid-born author" writing under a pseudonym in an attempt to remain anonymous. The website also features a number of photos of an unknown woman looking away from the camera.
"In previous interviews with Spanish media, Martínez, Díaz and Mercero had presented Mola as a female university professor who lived in Madrid with her husband and children," according to CNN.
Following the revelation, Spain's El Mundo newspaper reported: "It is not lost on anyone that the idea of a university professor and mother of three, who teaches algebra classes in the morning and, in the afternoon, writes novels of savage and macabre violence has been a good marketing operation."
Mola's novels are known for being graphic and gory, usually centering around the character of detective Elena Blanco, whom publisher Penguin Random House describes as a "peculiar and lonely woman" and a lover of "grappa, karaoke, collectors' cars and sex in SUVs." The Woman's Institute selected Mola's work as part of a selection of "feminist reading" in 2020.
The book that won the Planeta prize was not a Blanco story, rather open centering around the 1834 cholera epidemic. The Beast centers around a serial killer who is hunted down by a policeman, a young woman, and a journalist.
Following the announcement of Mola's true identity, Beatriz Gimeno, who describes herself as a writer and a feminist and is the former director of the Women's Institute in Spain, criticized the three men on Twitter.
In a tweet, Gimeno said: "Beyond using a female pseudonym, these guys have spent years doing interviews. It's not just the name, it's the fake profile they've used to take in readers and journalists. Scammers."