Don Foster, “Americaâ€™s foremost literary sleuth,” claims to have identified writer Sarah Champion as the force behind Belle de Jour, the anonymous blogger and supposed call girl, who recently got a big book deal.
In Author Unknown, Don Foster reveals a startling fact: since no two people use language in precisely the same way, our identities are encoded in our own language, a kind of literary DNA. Combining traditional scholarship with modern technology, Foster has discovered how to unlock that code and, in the process, has invented an entire field of investigation — literary forensics — by which it becomes possible to catch anonymous authors as they betray their identities with their own words.
Foster’s unexpected career as a literary sleuth began when he solved a puzzle in Shakespeare’s Sonnets that had stumped scholars for centuries, and then stumbled onto another literary mystery, a funeral poem written for a 1612 murder victim. After definitively connecting the “W.S.” who wrote the poem with William Shakespeare, Foster found himself on the front page of The New York Times. Just days later, he was invited to try to crack the case that at the time was a national obsession: who was the anonymous author of Primary Colors? In less than a week, Foster unmasked Joe Klein.
The literary sleuth should meet up with the rare book detective. They could wear matching fedoras and refuse to compete for the attentions of sultry lounge singer Belles Lettres.