Guessing games about anonymous authors’ identities are easy publicity for publishers, so it with some reluctance that Crikey buys in to the speculation about the book Boned, released today by Penguin, which has been written by an anonymous author and presents as a roman a clef on the commercial television industry – the title a rip-off from the words attributed to Channel Nine’s Eddie McGuire as he planned the sacking of Jessica Rowe.

The book might be described as chick-lit meets tabloid current affairs, with lots of attention paid to fashion labels and some nice renderings of the boyo culture and dialogue at a station that might very well be a thinly disguised Channel Nine.

But who wrote it? Penguin says they don’t know, which strains credulity. The author is said to be a woman still working in commercial television.

But Penguin is sending the cheques, by all accounts sizable, to the literary agent representing the author, Deborah Callaghan, of Sydney-based Callaghan Literary Management. Callaghan is known for handling big dollar non-fiction manuscripts.

Deborah Callaghan is married to Rory Callaghan, presently director of programs at Southern Star and until 2006 a senior executive at the Nine Network.

Can we take that connection as an indicator of where the book might have come from? “You can if you like,” Deborah Callaghan told Crikey this morning.

Callaghan claimed that she is the only person, apart from the author, who knows who wrote the book. Can this be true? Crikey Army, feel free to send your tips.

Just about every female who has ever been boned or even prodded in commercial television has been suggested as the potential author, with the most recent gossip to reach our ears centering around Gretel Killeen – who already has a number of books, mostly for children, to her name and who was dumped as anchorwoman for Ten’s Big Brother late last year.

Meanwhile extracts from the book ran last weekend in every Murdoch tabloid other than the Herald Sun.

Some have suggested to Crikey that the Melbourne tabloid’s relationship with Eddie McGuire might have something to do with the omission, but books editor Claire Sutherland poo-pooed that idea this morning.

The decision not to run the extracts was based purely on the availability of space, plus the fact that due to the publisher’s secrecy arrangements, she hadn’t been able to read a copy of the manuscript for herself, Sutherland said.

Disclosure: Crikey is giving away copies of Boned as part of our mid-year subscription offer, but we didn’t tell Margaret that.