Cormoran Strike News: Book Four in February 2017? BBC Strike only 5’10”? Absurdity of a Short Doom Bar Detective

COETwo big pieces of news about J. K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike mysteries!

The really important but anything but certain revelation is that there are Twitter Rumblings about Cormoran and the release date of Book 4, still untitled. The reporter at the link above speculates that we could be reading what Louise Freeman has suggested will be the London Olympics story (in parallel with Goblet‘s Quidditch World Cup) as early as January or February next year.

(The Rowling Watcher’s logic in play? “She talked about Book 3 in April the year it was released in October, therefore her mentioning this in August means we have six months to go…”).

The second news drop is much less speculative and much more disturbing.

The BBC has supposedly cast the actor to play the Doom Bar Detective on television, Tom Burke. He’s reported to be the right age and sufficiently scruffy. My question, though, is ‘How tall is he?’ The girth he can take on via a fat suit, but another Daniel Radcliffe height mismatch in casting I think means we’re in troubled waters for a successful adaptation. Cormoran doesn’t grow up in his story; he’s named for a Cornish Giant for a reason.

burke-1Who cares about the teevee show? I do, me, Mr. Kill Your Television. Because just maybe a teevee show of any quality will be the fracking we need to start Cormoran Mania’s first gusher. [Sorry, fracking is on my mind today. Whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on here!]

The reporter for both these articles? Andrew Sims, formerly a big player at MuggleNet, still a MuggleCast podcaster, and now founder of Sad that he seems to be the only media type interested in the Peg-Legged PI.

Oh, no! The word on the street is, egad, handsome Tom Burke is only 5’10.”

Really? A Cormoran Strike actor who isn’t even six feet tall? I fear, too, that Tom Burke’s 5’10” is a Hollywood measure, which means he is a tape measure 5’8″ in lifts. Can you say “Disaster”? [Read more…]

J.K. Rowling and the Phantoms in the Brain

BrainsAs best I can recall, brains only came up once in the Harry Potter series. There was a “Brain Room” in the Department of Mysteries in Order of the Phoenix, that contained a tank with green liquid and a number of “pearly white” brains floating in it. When a mentally-addled Ron foolishly Accio-ed one out, it flew through the air, attacked him with tentacles that “looked like ribbons of moving images” and left scars on Ron’s arms that even Madame Pomfrey was hard-pressed to remove. But the message is clear: in the wizarding world the study of the brain, and, by extension, the mind, is relegated to the Unspeakables, and considered an area of scholarship too dangerous to be shared with the general public, putting it in the same realm as other mysterious forces of the universe such as love, space, death and time. Thoughts, according to Madam Pomfrey, “leave deeper scarring that almost anything else.”

career_of_evilIn the Cormoran Strike series, Rowling moves the study of the human mind into the scientific realm, by making its female protagonist, Robin Ellacott, an ex-psychology student, intent on a career in forensic psychology before a sexual assault interrupted her university studies. As a professor of psychology and neuroscience, I have already documented through Harry Potter that Rowling seems familiar with the diagnostic criteria of multiple Muggle psychiatric conditions.  She also seems to have provided a realistic account of Robin’s mental breakdown after her assault and the way she overcame it.

VSRamachandran_zps47ada994As we know, Rowling does not write anything without doing a “ridiculous amount” of research, so it is hardly likely that she would write an entire series of novels about an amputee without educating herself about the medical facts regarding such an injury. After reading the first three books of the series, I am now convinced she consulted one of my favorite neuroscience writers, Dr. V.S. Ramachandran, author of Phantoms in the Brain (1998), A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness (2004) and The Tell-Tale Brain (2011). Ramachandran’s books present fascinating case studies about people with seemingly bizarre neurological conditions. So far, three of the conditions he describes have turned up in the Comoran Strike series. [Read more…]

Five Revelations about Robert Galbraith and Cormoran Strike in J. K. Rowling’s NPR Interview with Barrie Hardymon

2013Jo Rowling sat down last month to talk with Barrie Hardymon of National Public Radio’s ‘Pop Culture Happy Hour’ about the third Cormoran Strike novel, Career of Evil. You can listen to the full interview and see a few excerpts here; the unedited and as-close-to-verbatim-as-I could-manage interview transcript in full is at the bottom of this post.
As interviews go, it was fun. There was so little confrontation and so many softball ‘out of the park’ opportunities for the guest that I suspect the questions may have been provided or vetted, but more on that later. Here below the jump are five things we learned in this fun-fest about the writing of Career of Evil and what the author wants us to know about same. [Read more…]

News: Rowling Speaks on ‘Career of Evil’ Planning and Scaffolding at NPR

COEThis just in from ChrisC:

Just found two interesting links related to Career of Evil —

One is a series of interviews Ms. Rowling has given to NPR.  She seems to have given three consecutive chats, and each one I’ve listened to seem interesting.  Some of what she says may lend support to some of the ideas regarding Rowling’s themes for the Strike series:

Also, of final interest is this article for the Chicago Tribune that places Ms. Rowling in a long line of Women Mystery Writers:

All in all, there’s a lot to chew on, here.

[Note her comments about the “larger story arc” and the planning — “I worked exceptionally hard on the scaffolding,” comments which begin about 7:50 in the interview. Much more to say on this! John]

Rowling says ‘Career of Evil’ is Her “Best Planned Book” — Is It a Ring?

f39171174Have you finished Career of Evil yet? When you have or when you’re curious about what she may have meant in 2014 when she said her planning for the book was “insane,” head on over to, where I’ve posted my first take on the book’s structure.

f42033126In brief, my working thesis for your collaboration or debunking efforts is that the chapters featuring the killer as narrator mark the beginning and end of each one of the book’s seven parts, that Career‘s beginning, middle, and end Parts, 1, 4, and 7, conform to ring composition formula, and that the novel is a turtle-back ring as well, it’s other four Parts, 2 and 6, 3 and 5, echoing or reflecting one another across the story axis.

Which would be consistent with the scaffolding of Casual Vacancy and the first two Strikes.

See you over at!