The work of one woman was, it turned out, the equivalent of the labors of three men.

That was at least the case for Spain’s top writer of crime thrillers, a professor and mother who wrote under the pseudonym Carmen Mola, supposedly to maintain her anonymity.

But on Friday night, at a ceremony to award the 1 million euro (about $1,160,000) Planeta literary prize to Mola for her historical thriller “The Beast,” three men ascended the podium and claimed the award instead…

The trio (all TV scriptwriters) have said they chose the name by chance and for fun — without paying any particular thought to the gender of the name or the possible implications.

“I don’t know if a female pseudonym would sell more than a male one, I don’t have the faintest idea, but I doubt it,” one of the writers told Spain’s El País newspaper. “We didn’t hide behind a woman, we hid behind a name.”

Others disagreed.