When Your Wife Writes Your Amazon Reviews

From the Guardian:

An extraordinary literary “whodunnit” over the identity of a mystery reviewer who savaged works by some of Britain’s leading academics on the Amazon website has culminated in a top historian admitting that the culprit was, in fact, his wife.

Prof Orlando Figes, 50, an expert on Russia and professor of history at Birkbeck College, London, made the startling revelation in a statement through lawyers following a week of intrigue, suspicion, legal threats and angry email exchanges over postings on the website’s UK book review pages.

The spat began last week when the Cambridge-based academic, Dr Rachel Polonsky, noticed among the many favourable reviews of her book on Russian culture, Molotov’s Magic Lantern, one condemning her efforts as “dense”, “pretentious” and “the sort of book that makes you wonder why it was ever published”.

It ended on late on Friday evening with the surprise unveiling of Figes’s wife, Dr Stephanie Palmer, a senior law lecturer at Cambridge University, barrister, and member of the top human rights specialists, Blackstone Chambers, as the reviewer calling herself “Historian”, and responsible for several anonymous online attacks on the works of her husband’s rivals.

Read the rest here.