Carmen Mola: Lauded Spanish female crime writer revealed to be 3 men

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. And so it was in Spain last week when writers Agustin Martinez, Jorge Diaz and Antonio Mercero were revealed to be Carmen Mola, a pseudonym with which they created a series of highly successful novels.

The three television scriptwriters shocked guests, who included Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia, at the Planeta awards Friday when they took to the stage to pick up the prize money and reveal the celebrated crime author did not actually exist.

Mola — or rather the trio behind the pseudonym — won the prize for the novel The Beast, though the author is perhaps best known for the Inspector Elena Blanco series. The award for first prize was 1 million euros, or roughly $1.2 million.

Mola had been called the “Spanish Elena Ferrante,” a reference to the pseudonymous and highly popular Italian author behind My Brilliant Friend and other novels. The publisher Penguin Random House described Mola as “crime literature’s boldest and most enigmatic author.”

But the three writers decided it was time to come clean that Mola was a fiction herself.

“Carmen Mola is not, like all the lies we’ve been telling, a university professor,” Díaz said, according to a report in the Financial Times. “We are three friends who one day four years ago decided to combine our talent to tell a story.”

Mola’s novels usually revolve around the character of detective Elena Blanco, described by publisher Penguin Random House as a “peculiar and lonely woman” and a lover of “grappa, karaoke, collectors’ cars and sex in SUVs.”

The Beast is set during a cholera epidemic in 1834 and centres around a serial killer who is hunted down by a journalist, a policeman and a young woman.

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