Troubled Blood: Rowling and the Crime Writers’ Association

Professor Granger has previously posted that J.K. Rowling was shortlisted for two awards by the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) the British club for writers of both fiction and non-fiction crime. She was on this occasion unsuccessful in both the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award for Thriller Fiction, and the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Fiction.

The Steel Dagger was won by Michael Robotham for When She Was GoodMr Robotham has had quite a run at the CWA awards, first being shortlisted in 2007 for Night Ferry, before winning his first Gold Dagger 2015 with Life or Death. 2015 was also the last time J.K. Rowling was shortlisted for the awards with Silkworm as a contender for the Golden Dagger. 

  • Crime Writers’ Association (UK), Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, 2007: shortlisted for The Night Ferry
  • Crime Writers’ Association (UK), The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, Best Thriller, 2008: shortlisted for Shatter
  • Crime Writers’ Association (UK), The CWA Gold Dagger, Best Crime Novel, 2013: shortlisted for Say You’re Sorry
  • Crime Writers’ Association (UK), The CWA Gold Dagger, Best Crime Novel, 2015: winner for Life or Death
  • Crime Writers’ Association (UK), The CWA Gold Dagger, Best Crime Novel, 2020: winner for Good Girl Bad Girl
  • Crime Writers Association (UK), Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, 2021: winner for When She Was Good

The 2021 CWA Gold Dagger was won by Christ Whitaker for We begin at the End who also won the CWA New Blood Dagger for Tall Oaks in 2017.



New Cover Reveal for the Christmas Pig

On 29th June 2021, J.K. Rowling announced that the cover of her new children’s book – The Christmas Pig had been revealed. Designed by Jim Field the award-winning illustrator, character designer and animator.

“The new book will be published as a “gorgeously gifty hardback”, with full-colour jacket and featuring nine black and white spreads and decorative inside art from illustrator Jim Field. The jacket design will be revealed in the coming months.” The Bookseller

Jim would seem to be the ideal choice for a project that looks like a very promising animated film, and at least to me the cover has more than a little of the movie poster about it. Far more interesting to me will be the nine black and white spreads that Mr Fields has been commissioned to do. Look around his website to get an idea of some of the beautiful monochrome work he is capable of.

“Jim’s illustrations are simply perfect. It really is as though he got inside my head and drew what he saw there. I gasped out loud when I saw one particular illustration — I can’t say which it is without giving spoilers — because it was such a perfect representation of one of my favourite scenes.”  JK Rowling


“It was ever so slightly daunting when I thought about the number of people who are going to see this cover around the world. I wanted to create something filmic, timeless, that captures the excitement of J K Rowling’s incredible story and the wonder of Christmas, where the adventure begins. It is really a dream project and I’m so chuffed to be part of it.” Jim Field

Ms Rowling seems more than happy and given that Jim Field is aiming for the filmic look it is possible that we may be looking at an animated film ready for Christmas 2023.

In a comment on another thread I mentioned that Rowling tweeted about this pig before:, she was replying to her friend Jenny Colgan who had lost her daughter’s toy puffin called Neil at an airport. Ms Colgan is a very accomplished author of both romantic fiction and science fiction writing for the iconic Dr. Who series. She is also a member J.K. Rowling’s circle of friends within Edinburgh. Neil the Puffin first appears in Jenny’s romantic fiction book The Little Beach Street Bakery, published in 2014 and set in fictionalised Marazion and St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. In 2015 she began publishing a spin off series of children’s books based on the characters she had created, principally the daughter Polly and the Puffin Neil. This series is Jenny’s first foray into children’s stories and seems to be very successful. Neil now has his own twitter account which consists principally of tweeting “eep!”, so much more tolerable than most celebrity accounts.

As a post script the original Neil the Puffin was never found, but a replacement miraculously appeared to take his place. Could J.K. Rowling be planning a similar series of adventures for the Christmas Pig? let me know in the comments.

Strike’s SIB 2: A History of the SIB

When we last saw the Special Investigation Branch of the Corp of Military Police (CMP), it consisted of 19 newly minted soldiers in brand new uniforms, formed from Scotland yard’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), on the recommendation of Chief Inspector George Hatherill. The unit that formed up on 29th February 1940 might wear military dress, but they were still civilian detectives using the training they had gained within the Metropolitan Police to solve what were familiar crimes. What was needed was specialist training for military duties, such as: the military chain of command; King’s Regulations (rules and regulations covering all aspects of military life) and the army system of indent, issue and accounting, which they received at the military police training school at Mytchett Barracks, near Aldershot. The original recruits would go on to form instructors at the first SIB Training Centres in Egypt and at Gatton Park in Surry. Join me after the jump to find out how the SIB would fare in war and peace.

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Is Strike6’s Title ‘The Ink Black Heart’?

Three days ago we identified the possibility that the next Strike Title might be ‘The Last Cries of Men’, a quote from the remarkable Devotion Upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne. A correspondent of Prof Granger identified a further title ‘The Ink Black Heart’ registered from the same group of companies. Over the weekend I have uncovered further links between this group of companies and Rowling Inc. that has convince me that both these titles and the unlikely ‘Love Stories for the Rich and Desperate’ are all projects of J K Rowling.

Join me after the jump for a tiptoe through the trademarks.

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Is Strike6’s Title ‘The Last Cries of Men’?

Patricio Tarantino of The Rowling Library shared with me last night his discovery of the trademark for The Christmas Pig being registered in 2012. I was delighted to have this information because it supports my theory that this story was in long development, and was the novel described in the Q&A on her website.

The company that registered the trademark is Shastan Ltd, and after checking with Companies House in the UK it appears it’s sole purpose was to register this trademark with no obvious link to Rowling. This is the same tactic used for registering the trademark for The Ickabog, using in that case Portree Regent Ltd. Both Shastan and Portree Regent share a director, and Professor Granger suggested looking at the other companies this director is listed for.

Then things started getting really exciting. Join me after the jump to learn about a possible title for the next Cormoran Strike novel, one trademarked in 2015: The Last Cries of Men.

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