Is Ryan Murphy Part of the Strike Pantheon…. As Poseidon?

I haven’t dived into the mythic elements of Cormoran Strike as much as my fellow faculty here, mainly because it is out of my area of expertise.  However,  a couple of my comments on one of John’s lengthy posts on the topic, I speculated that:

  1. If Strike and Robin are stand-ins for Cupid and Psyche, their eventual child should be a girl with a name meaning “Pleasure.” and
  2. Charlotte could be an anti-Psyche in the same way Morris was an anti-Eros.  That thought let to the idea that her daughter with Ross might have a name meaning “Pain” or “Sorrow”– a moniker fitting for Jago’s fourth unwanted not-the-heir-child. I suggested Lolita, both short for Dolores and a nod to Nabokov’s most famous female protagonist.

As usual, I wasn’t exactly right, but the child’s name is “Mary,” for which one meaning is “bitter.”  More importantly, this makes Charlotte’s daughter a namesake to the original “Our Lady of Sorrows.”  (Aside:  her brother’s name, James, derives from Jacob and means “supplanter”–  fitting for one who is destined to receive the full inheritance at the expense of his siblings).

With the small amount of confidence that half-guess gave me, I’m going to plunge into a raging ocean of speculation:  that Robin’s new beau, DCI Ryan Murphy, will also play a mythic role in the series. Furthermore, he will play the role of that ill-tempered deity of oceans and horses, and father of Percy Jackson, Poseidon (Neptune to Romans).

Find out why after the jump. [Read more…]

Updated Sporcle Quiz for Strike: Now with ‘The Ink Black Heart’ Characters

OK, Trivia Buff(ypaws), the Sporcle quiz on the top 100 most-mentioned Strike characters has been expanded and updated, and now has 130 names, including characters from The Ink Black Heart. I must admit, I don’t fully understand how they counted, given that Gus Upcott, Anomie and Paperwhite all have separate entries. I also don’t know if things like Twitter handles are included.  Does every mention of anomie@anomiegamemaster count as two?  Does @RealPaperwhite also go into Paperwhite’s tally?

In any case, it’s fun.  My first run through I got 85%, and would have gotten a few others, except that I’ve been listening to the audiobook and was therefore off on a few spellings. My record is 127/130, with apologies to Evan Duffield, Seb Montgomery and Madeline’s son Henry for forgetting them.

Check it out!

The Ink Black Heart: Parallels to The Cuckoo’s Calling.

As John has pointed out, there are expected Book 1- Book 5 parallels in the Harry Potter series. As such, we went looking for connections between The Cuckoo’s Calling and Troubled Blood. But, with 5-6 flip, we ought to expect some connections between CC and The Ink Black Heart as well as between IBH and CoE,  Do we find them?

A few I can think of:

  1. The murder victim is a female former foster child who earned a large amount of money at a young age (Lula through her modeling career, Edie through the cartoon). Both were on the verge of signing a lucrative new contract when they died.
  2. Both murder victims had money-grubbing uncles who wanted little to do with their niece until the niece got rich.
  3. Both murder victims had druggie boyfriends with whom they had recently broken up (Evan Duffield, Josh Blay).
  4. The murderer had responsibilities for a seriously ill parent.
  5. A child-related conflict destroys Strike’s love for Charlotte (anger over the lies about her alleged pregnancy (or abortion or miscarriage?) in CC; unwillingness to protect the twins from Jago in IBH.)
  6. A victim’s missing cell phone is an important clue to the case.

What others can our readers come up with?

Queen City Mischief and Magic Returns Live to Staunton, VA, September 24-25

After two years of online festivals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival is back in person this year. Instead of my usual academic programming, I will be running a Science and Magic booth in Do-Good Alley, with some help of some Mary Baldwin University Science Students, as a fundraiser for the CAMK2 Therapeutic Network.

If you are attending, please stop by to say hi, experience cool optical illusions and sensory demos and learn about real-life Fantastic Beasts.

Mention for a special prize!

The Ink Black Heart: Random Comments and What I Liked.

This post is going to be a bit of a dumping ground for a few comments too brief to be worthy of their own posts.  Just a few notes about some of my favorite bits of The Ink Black Heart.

  1. Pat!  I thought she was amazing in this book and I am so glad Strike is finally liking and appreciating the quality of her work. Her shining moment was, of course, her detection of the package bomb and having the presence of mind to get away from it and seek safety behind Strike’s door. The remark about her uncle dying in an IRA bombing helped to remind us that the Troubles weren’t that long ago. I wonder if people like Pat, who were school age at the worst of the violence, were taught how to recognize bombs and what to do if they suspected one— the 1970’s equivalent to today’s active shooter drills in schools. Can any of our UK readers share any insights? And, we’ll have to add fruitcake to the menu of items to serve at our next Strike themed party (Doom Bar, red wine, creosote-colored tea, beef casserole, take-out curry, coffee-walnut cake and lots of chocolates).   Note to self: seek out good British fruitcake recipe.
  2. Flavia! The best kid to come along since Jack—  I’d be open to some matchmaking. You both love her for her intellect and curiosity while at the same time feel terrible for her with that awful family she’s stuck with.  I can only hope that, with Daddy Dearest dead and her cynophobic brother off to jail, she’ll get that puppy. I think she’s earned it.
  3. Robin’s new flat!  Like her, I’ll miss Wolfgang and I wish we had had a few more good talking scenes with Max before she moved, but I am glad she’s got her own digs at last. And Strike’s willingness to sleep on her sofa-bed?  Oh. yeah!  I can’t help but wonder what he looked like in those pajamas.  I am visualizing blue stripes like Uncle Vernon’s.
  4. New staff (not Nutley)!  Midge seems both confident and competent. I had expressed hope that she would arrive with a sexual orientation or relationship status that precluded any attraction between her and Strike, and I got my wish. I also like Dev and his alter-ego, Mr. Massoumi.  I knew I’d like him once we saw he was too decent to work for Mitch Patterson, who, I strongly suspect , hired Morris to replace him. If so, Strike and Ellacott got the better half of that deal.
  5. The blessed event!  I am very happy for Nick and Ilsa, but it appears that their marriage did indeed get permanently damaged by Nick’s reprehensible reaction to the last miscarriage.
  6. The missed kiss!  I may be in the minority here, but I’m glad the kiss didn’t happen. Both were drunk, and Robin was a lot more impaired than Strike. It would have felt wrong for him to initiate something then, especially if it went further than kissing, and I think they would have regretted it.
  7. Henry!  Not so much the kid himself, but the fact that Strike, contrary to his own expectations, could talk to him, and actually seemed to get on pretty well, or at least as well as any teenager is likely to get on with Mummy’s boyfriend.
  8. The anti-Kairos moment!  I was so glad Strike realized, once and for all, that any residual affection for Milady Berzerko is gone; and, interestingly, it was her indifference to her children that finally seems to have snapped the last thread. Between this, Jack and Henry, we are getting indications that Strike could be a successful Daddy some day, after all. I am just really hoping it is not with Madeline.

That’s all for now. I hope to hear what other people especially liked.