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…]

Slow-Reveals, Interior Reality, and the Power of Symbols: Why Smart Potter-Pros Get WandaVision

I recently promised I’d collect my thoughts on the new Disney+ series WandaVision, and I was planning to wait until the final, ninth episode airs, a little over a month from now. However, I’ve been thinking about how some viewers love the show, while there does seem toWandaVision (TV Mini-Series 2021) - IMDb be a group of malcontents who don’t seem to like/understand it; it occurs to me that some of the tools that make watching this show both enjoyable and thought-provoking are tools familiar to close readers of the Hogwarts adventures and Strike series. So it seems like a good time to go ahead and share some mid-point ideas about how those of us who are long-time Rowling readers may have some super powers that give us a headstart on seeing the magic in this new MCU short-run. Be warned, the following conversation is for those who have already seen the first four episodes, as well as the pertinent MCU films, so proceed if you dare, and see how a world filled with wizards and witches is great place to learn about how to navigate a world of one particular (Scarlet) Witch, Wanda Maximoff. [Read more…]

“Nae Problem:” How Career of Evil Should Have Ended 15 Chapters Earlier.

Robin Ellacott has certainly made some questionable decisions: sneaking off to warn Alyssa about Brockbank, letting sentiment over the Royal Wedding dupe her into resuming her engagement to the Flobberworm, trying to grab Strike’s arm when he’s throwing a punch, not dumping the Flobberworm at the wedding reception, drunk-texting Saul Morris on Boxing Day, not dumping the Flobberworm on the honeymoon, visiting Mucky Ricci without telling Strike and not dumping the Flobberworm when he ripped her gorgeous and expensive green dress. But, I would argue, her most foolish lapse of judgement came in a scene I’ve never seen discussed: Chapter 47 of Career of Evil.

The somewhat disgruntled Robin has been observing young Stephanie, believing, quite rightly, that Strike has intentionally put her on their least likely suspect to keep her out of harm’s way. Once Stephanie takes off in a van with Whittaker’s henchmen, she heads over to Wollaston Close to monitor Donald Laing’s apartment. Although neither she nor Strike ever seemed to realize it, she makes one of the most boneheaded moves of her career on this stakeout. Startled by Laing’s curtains being open, and trying to fake a phone call while searching for a better spying position, she slips on some spilled curry and falls. Guess who arrives to assist?

Somewhere in her vicinity a man burst out laughing. Cross and humiliated, she tried to get up without spreading the muck further over her clothes and shoes and did not look immediately for the source of the jeering noise.

“Sorry, hen,” said a soft Scottish voice right behind her. She looked around sharply and several volts of electricity seemed to pass through her…

“Ye’ll need a tap,” he said, grinning broadly as he pointed at her foot and the hem of her dress, “and a scrubbing brush.”

“Yes,” said Robin shakily. She bent to pick up her mobile. The screen was cracked.

“I live up there,” he said, nodding towards the flat she had been watching on and off for a month. “Ye can come up if y’want. Clean yerself up.”

“Oh no—that’s all right. Thanks very much, though,” said Robin breathlessly.

“Nae problem,” said Donald Laing.

Oh yeah, it is a problem. More  on why this is indicative of a sudden drop in Detective Ellacott’s IQ after the jump. 

[Read more…]

The True Taxonomy of Leda-Killer Suspects: Why Sir Randolph Whittaker is a Likely Culprit.

A few posts back, I made a case for Dr. Nick Herbert as the Leda-Slayer. My goal was not so much to convince the world that Nick Did It and to point out that a very similar case can be made for Nick as for Dave Polworth. 

The flip side of that is, the same arguments against Dave also apply to Nick— with the possible exception of Nick being more likely to know how to give an injection. 

Truthfully, I don’t really think either Nick or Dave did it. I am not by nature a betting person, but if someone forced me to put down a fiver on someone, my top suspect would be a character who has so far gotten exactly one mention by name in the series: Sir Randolph Whittaker, also known around here as Grandpa, or Old Man Whittaker.  Here is my reasoning.

Assuming Leda was, in fact murdered, the suspects for the dirty deed  fall into two broad categories.  

Bad People We Are Supposed to Suspect:  (AKA Black Hats) This list includes Jonny Rokeby, Jeff Whittaker, Charlotte Campell, Jago Ross, Shumba-the-Rastafarian-Who-Was-Nasty-Enough-to-Make-Uncle-Ted-Want-to-Punch-Him, Some-Yet-Unknown-Person-from-the-Worst-Place-Ever-Norfolk-Commune-That-Keeps-Getting-Mentioned, and all of the Whittaker Extended Family.

Good People We Are Not Supposed to Suspect (AKA White Hats): Uncle Ted, Aunt Joan, Sister Lucy, and good friends Nick Herbert, Ilsa (maiden name unknown at time of murder), Dave Polworth and Shanker. I will also include two Associate White Hats, not because Strike is particularly close to them, but because, if they were involved, it would have been for White Hat Lucy’s sake:  Her biological father Rick Fantoni and her now-husband Greg (whom she may or may not have known when she was nineteen). 

Following the jump, I’ll look closer at my classification system and explain my reasoning. 

[Read more…]