Who Killed Leda Strike? Peter Gillespie

Two premises of HogwartsProfessor writing about Rowling-Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike mysteries are that (1) their over-arching story, equivalent in some ways to the Lord Voldemort backdrop to Harry Potter that climaxed in the last books of that septology, is the enigma of Leda Strike’s supposed suicide and (2) that this will be resolved by Strike7. Feel free to comment about the validity or absurdity of those guidelines for our speculation; please do review the many posts on the site about parallels that exist between the Strike and Potter series, though, before you dismiss the ideas out of hand. 

We have discussed seven suspects to date for persons who may have had a hand in Leda’s death. If you are in a hurry to review them, here are quick links to the cases made against Jonny Rokeby and the Harringay Crime Syndicate (Heroin Dark Lord 2.0), Ted Nancarrow (Uncle Ted Did It), Dave Polworth, Lucy Fantoni (Lucy and Joan Did It and here), Sir Randolph Whittaker, Nick Herbert, and Charlotte Campbell-Ross. There’s a post, too, about why we can be confident all these best-guesses are wrong. Louise Freeman has set the ‘3M Standard’ for suspect speculation here as ‘Means, Motive, and Meta-literary Reasons;’ anyone that killed Leda must have credible opportunity and skills to have done the job, he or she must have a good reason for having killed her, and the revelation that this person did it must come as a shock to Cormoran Strike and the reader (see the Polworth post for my discussion of that).

Last week ‘Karol’ offered on a comment thread to a post about Old Man Whittaker as a suspect that Peter Gillespie, Jonny Rokeby’s right hand for many years, was responsible for Leda’s death. ‘Jeff’ had mentioned this theory in his prediction that Charlotte will be revealed in the end to have killed Strike’s mother and I’ve heard that Gillespie is a favorite in discussions of this subject at the Strike Fans forum. I’ve deleted ‘Karol’s comment from its original place both because we really try to discourage ‘hijacking’ of conversations about a post’s subject with barely related ideas and because the theory deserves its own post and discussion thread. Here, then, is ‘Karol’s explanation of why Peter Gillespie must be considered a prime suspect in the staged suicide of Leda Strike: [Read more…]

Guest Post: Agatha Christie’s The Clocks – TV Adaptation a Source for Strike?

In 2019 I wrote about Agatha Christie’s 1963 Poirot novel, The Clocks, a send up of the James Bond spy-thriller then in vogue: Agatha Christie’s ‘The Clocks’ or ‘Arabella Figg Meets Hercule Poirot.’ Chris Calderon thinks that the 2009 teevee adaptation of this novel for BBC1’s series ‘Poirot’ has a lot to tell us about the Cormoran Strike series that Rowling may have been plotting and planning at the time.

Make the jump to read the connections he has found between the show and the series! [Read more…]

Guest Post: Lucy and Joan Killed Leda!

Last month I wrote a review of the five most likely candidates for the murderer of Leda Strike which included the criteria that makes a suspect more or less likely. ‘Who Killed Leda Strike, Suicide Victim? Leda, Rokeby, Whittaker, Ted, or Dave?’ In addition to the genre requirements of a credible means or opportunity as well as motive, I suggested the guilty party would have to be a devastating revelation to Strike, one that would turn his idea of himself and the world upside-down, which is to say “right-side up,” because this is a signature of Rowling-Galbraith big-twist, cathartic finishes. Of the Big Five — Leda herself, Jeff Whittaker, Rokeby, Ted Nancarrow, and Dave Polworth — I thought Dave Polworth the most likely murderer for genre and meta-literary reasons. I followed up that longish post with a disclaimer that the value of this speculation was not in getting it right but in the explication of what makes the author’s writing work, the keys, if you will: The Value Of Interpretive Speculation or “Why We Know Dave Didn’t Kill Leda.”

Those posts inspired comments in support of and against the Polworth possibility, mostly against, as you’d expect. The best of them, I think, was Bestiary’s argument that Joan or Lucy did it (I responded at no little length). One comment I elevated into a post of its own because it made a credible argument that Charlotte killed her lover’s mother (like the Polworth theory, its fan fiction turned on issues of incest). Yesterday, Louise Freeman introduced the idea that Nick Herbert, gastroenterologist, killed Leda when still a medical student or intern: ‘Troubled Blood — The Dark Side to Two Old Mates.’ In response to that suggestion, a Serious Striker writing as ‘Jeff’ commented that we all have totally missed the boat — Joan and Lucy topped Leda, their sister-in-law and biological mother respectively.

I have deleted that comment from Professor Freeman’s thread and post it below as an independent post for your consideration. I do this not so much because I take the theory seriously — it fails, I think, most obviously on the grounds of how the two women learned to inject heroin into someone else’s veins and how they subdued Leda or convinced her it was a good idea (there were no signs of struggle in the flat) — but because I want each of these ‘So and So Did It!’ theories to have their own home rather than hijack discussion on other posts’ threads. This makes for future ease in finding the specific theory, referencing it, and updating it in light of new information.

I post ‘Jeff’s theory of Half-Sister Lucy and dear Aunt Joan as killers after the jump with his relatively brief explanation and defense (I corrected the typos, changed the paragraphing, and liberally expanded the original for clarity and cogency; apologies in advance to ‘Jeff’ if this editorial heavy-hand was unwelcome). Let me know, Serious Strikers, if you think ‘Lucy and Joan Killed Leda’ has merit and if I have too casually dismissed ‘Jeff’s argument! [Read more…]

Guest Post: ‘Twas Charlotte Killed Leda

In my post reviewing the likeliest suspects for ‘Murderer of Leda Strike,’ I dismissed the idea that Charlotte Campbell did the deed as a looney-tune gambit. A Serious Striker writing as ‘Fiona’ posted a fun response that defended this fan theory. Lest it take over the discussion on that post’s thread (and be forever lost to future Rowling-Galbraith students wanting to identify who first figured out the over-arching mystery of the first seven Strike books), I have bumped the comment up to ‘Guest Post’ status to draw your attention to ‘Fiona’s argument and to invite your response.

I confess to loving the fan-fiction motive — and all such speculation have to come with a heavy helping of fan-fiction, more or less credible — if I’m missing why Charlotte would be moved by the revelation to kill Leda rather than the person who gives her the bad news. I look forward to reading what you think, especially if you believe Charlotte a better bet in the ‘Who Killed Leda?’ sweepstakes than Dave Polworth or Ted Nancarrow! Enjoy ‘Twas Charlotte Killed Leda‘ by first time post-er ‘Fiona’…

Hey, I have also thought about the idea of Charlotte as Leda’s killer! I know it sounds nuts, but it would certainly provide the required twist at the end of the series.

Firstly I’m basing this on other theories that have been posted on this site. I apologise for not remembering the names given to the theories and whether it was John or other contributors who introduced them. By these theories I mean the ones concerning Leda mirroring her mythological namesake concerning Zeus, the double father idea, and twins. Also the idea that the “aristocrat” in the photograph that Strike says is the only known picture of his parents together is the father of both Charlotte and Strike.

Now consider: Strike has gone to Oxford, and therefore already met Charlotte when Leda dies. (We know he meets her almost immediately.) At some point while at Oxford our chaos-loving Charlotte says, ‘Next weekend, come home and meet the family,’ mainly for the sake of shocking her upper class parents with her rough-around-the-edges boyfriend. They arrive chez Charlotte and she triumphantly says something to the effect of “Hi, Mummy, Daddy, meet my new boyfriend! His father is a crazy rocker and his mother is an even crazier drug addict!”

Mummy Charlotte is suitably unimpressed but Daddy Charlotte practically loses it. He takes Charlotte aside and says, “You need to break up with that boy, NOW.” Charlotte laughs and says “I knew you wouldn’t like him.” But her father insists he has good reasons for what he says and if she only knew what he knew she would end it. Charlotte, however, insists she loves loves him and nothing in the world could make her end it (assuming this is all just snobbery on her father’s part.)

So her father realises he will have to tell her the truth. And he does, but first makes her swear not to share a word of what he tells her to anyone. He tells her about his (presumably brief) affair with Leda, and the resulting pregnancy which threatened to ruin his reputation, relationship, and possibly derail a political career. How he (as theorised by others here) convinced Jonny Rokeby to take the responsibility for the baby, in return for arranging that Jonny faces no consequences for actions/crimes of his own. (This presumably all took time to arrange, hence the delay in Jonny accepting paternity, with the paternity test in turn being offered as an excuse for this delay.) [Read more…]

Hogwarts Legacy RPG Delayed to 2022

I’m skeptical that there are many (any?) HogwartsProfessor readers that are ‘really into’ role playing games on their computers, but in that supposition I am probably only revealing how naive and misinformed I am. Lev Grossman and his twin brother Austin, after all, not only play and review these games, but, in Austin’s case, design them. There is a literature nerd/RPG geek overlap out there.

So, for all you neglected RPG playing Serious Readers in the audience, here’s a News Flash from GamesRadar.com: ‘The Harry Potter themed role playing video game scheduled for release this year, Hogwarts Legacy, has been postponed until 2022.’

I was fascinated to see in the ‘sneak preview’ video above that ‘Legacy’ is set in the late 19th Century Hogwarts. The announcer notes that this is a century before Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s time at the magical castle cum wizarding school and decades before Newt Scamander and Company walk the hallowed halls. In case you’re wondering, as I was, if Albus and Aberforth Dumbledore might make cameo walk-ons, they could only do so as children too young to be students (older brother DDore is born in 1881). Set in the past as it may be, 1800s Hogwarts seems to have the same freedom from racial and sexist bias as the one we experienced imaginatively in Rowling’s late 20th Century Septology.

If anyone out there is a ‘gamer,’ please share in the comment boxes what we should know and why we should care about Hogwarts Legacy as well as its delay until 2022!