A cohort of around 12 San Francisco journalists, most of them known for reporting on tech, have received a mysterious book of tech satire full of "tweets" reimagined in elaborate, handwriting-like typeset. The book's title is Iterating Grace: Heartfelt Wisdom and Disruptive Truths from Silicon Valley's Top Venture Capitalists.

Tech reporter Alexis Madrigal of Fusion, having received something far more interesting in the mail than a new smart watch, has taken to the mystery like something of an amateur detective while acknowledging that some suspect the book to be a clever PR scam. There are also hints that the work could be somehow bound up with the literary types at McSweeney's or The Writer's Grotto, a theory I'm more inclined to believe.

Madrigal has collected the elite list of names who've received the surreptitiously hand-delivered book. They are these:

Alexis Madrigal
Sarah Rich, author
Nellie Bowles, tech journalist, former Re/code writer
Allison Arieff, SPUR editor
Doree Shafrir, Buzzfeed editor
Mat Honan, Buzzfeed editor
Mike Monteiro, designer
Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones editor
James Nestor, author
Jon Steinberg, San Francisco Magazine editor
Casey Newton, The Verge editor

The author of Iterating Grace, Koons Crooks, is described in the foreword. Of course it's a pseudonym, but the question of whose pseudonym is what's keeping Madrigal up at night. That forword, written completely anonymously, describes Koons like this:

Koons Crooks was an inexhaustible foot soldier of the first dot-com boom, working steadily as a programmer at a string of forgotten startups in the late nineties: Naka, InfoSmudge, BITKIT, Popcairn. He was tall and muscular, with a square jaw, olive complexion and thick, wavy hair just long enough to tie back in a ponytail—and yet, several friends told me, he still always managed to look distressingly unhealthy. He was, as on acquaintance put it, “fully post-meal,” inserting pieces of food into his mouth at regular intervals while he worked. A worker remembered Crooks moving through an entire bag of frozen shrimp gyoza in a single morning, raising and lowering his left hand hypnotically, and gumming each dumpling until it softened enough to be chewed and digested. Occasionally, he could be heard saying, very quietly, a single word: “Yum.”

The rest of the book consists of hand-drawn — or more likely letter-pressed — reproductions of odd, epigrammatic tweets mostly from venture capitalists.

It's all very weird, and right now a fully paranoid Madrigal is headed down one particular rabbit hole: "There is a code embedded in names of the people who received the book," he writes. "Remember: there are supposedly 140 books out there. So, perhaps, if you put our first initials (or last initials?) together, it would form the tweet that cracks the case?"

It's also possible, perhaps likely, that Madrigal knows exactly who wrote the book and is letting the readers of his articles in on the fun of discovering for themselves. He's vowed that "if anyone can correctly identify the author of the book, I promise to send you a beautifully framed reproduction of one of the hand-drawn tweets from the book."

What an exciting little adventure Koons Crooks is has taken us on. Anecdotally, I remember one early lesson in my own book sleuthing about authors and their pseudonyms. Reading the books of "Lemony Snicket" called A Series of Unfortunate Events aloud to my younger sister, I began to appreciate the real mystery that a relatively regular guy — in that case local writer Daniel Handler — was able to cultivate with his writerly persona, which he implicated right into the text. Speaking of which, has anyone suspected Handler yet? Fingers continue to fly, including these.