Troubled Blood Wins Nibbie!

What Happened in Norfolk? Speculations about the “Worst Place” of Strike’s Childhood.

Cormoran Strike no doubt has multiple traumatic memories of his childhood. He recalls the squalor of multiple squats where he lived as a child, including one that was so bad that his gentle Uncle Ted threatened violence to get him out. But, as reader share glimpses of Strike’s memories, one place stands out as the worst place of all: a commune in Norfolk where Strike lived at age 8.
Over two years ago, in my post “Piecing Together Cormoran Strike’s Childhood: Could Jonny Rokeby be the Snape of the Series?” I reviewed the information we had at the time about the Norfolk Commune, speculated that it was an end-times cult of some type, and that accusations of child abuse may have gotten the attention of Ted and Joan, Papa Jonny, or both. We learned a bit more about the commune in Troubled Blood, which opens up some new possibilities. After the jump, I will sum up the total known facts about the notorious Norfolk Commune, and speculate more generally about what we may eventually learn about this phase of Strike’s life.     [Read more…]

Guest Post: Rokeby Redux – Is Strike’s Father More Snape than Lord Voldemort?

Rokeby Redux by Kurt Schreyer

I’ve long admired this site, but I’ve never commented before. I’d like to propose an alternative theory to your account of Jonny Rokeby as the arch villain of the Strike series (‘Heroin Dark Lord, 2.0‘). As Beatrice Groves succinctly summarized when I ran it by her: “Rokeby is the Snape and not the Voldemort” of this story. All citations below are from the Kindle edition.

Our initial impression in Cuckoo’s Calling is that while Peter Gillespie is a jerk, Rokeby may be the real villain. “Got you working weekends now, has he?” Strike asks the first time we meet the lawyer over the phone (p. 346). Before hanging up, Strike rebuffs the demand for repayment of what is often and clearly called a “loan” in this novel (p. 347). Before this conversation, Lucy tells her brother that she finds it “outrageous” that Rokeby is using Gillespie as a cat’s paw. She says that he’s never given her brother a single penny and that “he ought to have made it a gift” ( p. 130). At the end of the first novel, there’s a hint that in fact Rokeby wishes to make a gift of the money. When Gillespie calls this final time, Robin replies to an offer we aren’t privy to: “Mr. Strike would rather pay.” (p. 549). Did Rokeby tell Gillespie that he wanted Strike to keep the money? The reader is left to decide whether this is a sincere offer or a cynical ploy to share the limelight with the now-famous detective.

But in Troubled Blood, these matters are presented rather differently. We learn that Rokeby’s money was not a loan until Strike made it one: “My mother got a letter…reminding her I could use the money that had been accumulating in the bank account” and Rokeby repeated this offer when he learned that Strike was out of hospital and trying to start a detective agency ( p. 723). Robin replies in disbelief, “That money was yours all along? … Gillespie acted as though—” (p. 724). But Strike interrupts her and we’re given a crucial piece of information from Strike himself: [Read more…]

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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