12/04/2012 14:45 BST | Updated 12/06/2012 10:12 BST

JK Rowling's New Book 'The Casual Vacancy' Announced

The title of JK Rowling's first adult novel will be The Casual Vacancy, the Harry Potter author announced today.

The book will be set in a quaint English town called Pagford that is 'ripped apart' by a parish election following the unexpected death of a local councilor.

The 480-page story, according to publisher Little, Brown & Co, will be "blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising."

The only other details revealed about Rowling first foray into grown up fiction is that it will be published worldwide - hardly a surprise, given the fact she's sold 450 million copies of her boy wizard series and is probably the most famous author alive today.

Jon Howells, spokesman for book retailer Waterstones, said: "It will obviously be a major bestseller, probably the bestselling fiction title this year.

"The real surprise is the plot detail - she never revealed this much in advance of the Harry Potter novels. We were all expecting some sort of crime or mystery novel, but she has, refreshingly, surprised us all.

"The plot sounds like it will have hints of Mark Haddon and (Alexander) McCall Smith, and the promise of black comedy is very beguiling."

Originally announced in February, Rowling said at the time that her first post-Potter book would be 'very different' from her previous material.

She added: "The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry's success has brought me."

The Casual Vacancy will be released on 27 September in e-book and traditional hardback.

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