Times of London Reviews ‘Lethal White’

So you have a decision or two to make with just over a week to go before the publication date of Lethal White, the fourth Cormoran Strike mystery.

Do you read the reviews being published in advance of the day on which you can buy the book? The Times of London published their thoughts on the fourth adventure (verdict? “Outstanding”).

Or do you avoid possible ‘spoilers’ and story pointers by turning a blind eye and pretending the reviews aren’t out there?

Is this akin to ignoring Crimes of Grindelwald trailers? Or to not joining in speculation about the series back story?

What do you want to happen here at HogwartsProfessor this week? I had planned to do one prediction list of things I felt had to happen according to formula and another list of predictions of what I kinda sorta think might happen.

Is that silly when reviews are already out?

Lemmeno what you think!

Comments

  1. I view reading reviews differently than watching trailers. Trailers create energy and excitement for me, and make no definitive quality statements about the film.

    Book reviews…. eh. As a literary critic, I’d rather read a book and make my own decision. I never read reviews of Harry Potter, and never will (except for scholarly purposes). Quite frankly I don’t trust them to make qualitative statements about art. I don’t know their presuppositions or standards.

    That being said, I fully expect “Lethal White” to garner positive reviews!

  2. Beatrice Groves says:

    Ha! I will be continuing to enjoy speculation while avoiding all reviews. Reviews involve spoilers in the way that speculation does not (even if it turns out to be right).

    ‘That’s logic.’

    (Delighted to hear they think it’s outstanding though.)

  3. Brian Basore says:

    Professor,
    You’ve been getting all wrought up about Strike 4, and wondering if you should promote The Presence writing as Galbraith as you did when she wrote as Rowling. I say she needs you as much as ever. You’ll sure never get to meet her this way but stand by her anyway.

    I’d rather read your lists and comments than any reviews that appear outside your blog.

  4. Mr. Granger,

    I’d have to say I’m with Brian Basore on this. Just because a review has been released doesn’t mean you have to remain silent. If anything, I’m even more curious to see what you think is going to happen, as well as how this applies to the formula Rowling’s got going.

    So by all means, bring out the essays. I’d kind of like to here more if you don’t mind.

  5. This may be slightly off topic, however it concerns the character of Shanker. So far, I’ve heard him discussed as an analogue to Sirius Black. This seems based off the fact that he appears to make his big entrance on-stage during “Career of Evil”. Because of this, Sirius seems like the most logical character he seems to take after.

    The problem is I wonder if this take might be the wrong one. For one thing, we don’t meet him in “COE”. His first appearance is made over the phone in “Cuckoo’s Calling”, where we only here Strike’s side of the conversation. It isn’t until Book 3 that we are told this off-screen character was Shanker.

    With this in mind, I have to ask if maybe we’re looking at the character as an analogue isn’t Sirius, but Ron Weasley? To be fair, I have nothing to base this question on. In fact, the technical irony is that you have to blame Miles Davis for the idea even occurring to me.

    I had Davis’s “So What” in my head one day, and as I listened to the melody, the figures of Robin and Shanker. I could imagine her trying to tell him something that was either important, or she believed it was important. To which, his reply was always the same, “So what?”

    Eventually, this scene turned into an actual scenario in my imagination, in which someone had placed a tale on Robin, and Shanker was helping her to get the suspect off her back. I could imagine them ambling through the most historic parts of London, with Robin pointing out all the various landmarks and their many storied history. Again, all Shanker can think is, “So what?” This vignette ends with Shanker and Robin losing the tale in the Southwark suburb. This is a red-light district that might have been frequented by Shakespeare back in the day. Thomas Dekker called it a home of “suburb sinners”. It is also possible the Bard based certain scenes and characters in “Measure for Measure” on the populace and daily life of Southwark. Shanker holds the place in pretty high regard, considering it almost like a second home. Robin’s response: “So what?”

    The whole scenario just seemed to fit the basic nature of both characters. Robin is the knowledgeable intellectual, ever ready with facts and figures. Shanker’s very existence, meanwhile, means that he always has to be quick on his feet and ready to fight or fly at a moment’s notice. For Shanker, “perfect paranoia is perfect awareness”. They are exact opposites, in other words.

    I don’t think either is meant to wind up as a couple. There’s room for them to be quarrelsome, but not in a romantic way.

    This is all just speculation nothing to back it up, really. Still, I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a possibility for Shanker as the Ron stand-in to be true. It’s been nothing but a basic Holmes and Watson setup with Robin and Strike so far. Matthew is too intimidated by Strike to even support his wife in her chosen profession. If nothing else, the idea of Shanker as a Ron analogue means we now have an actual triptych in the series, and the best part is that its introduction was so skillful that no one noticed.

    One final thought. Rowling said Ron was based in part on a childhood friend of hers. I forget his name, yet I clearly remember watching her introduce the real life friend to audiences in her A&E biography. In the case of Shanker, I don’t think he’s based on any real life model. I think the closest literary echo might be the Baker Street Irregulars. Like he’s one of the Irregulars all grown up, and he’s still kept his hand in the informant business. At least there’s one way of looking at it.

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