Official Troubled Blood Readalong in the Countdown to Ink Black Heart

I spied this on Twitter and plan to join in!  @RGalbraith

Troubled Blood: Unanswered Questions

Earlier this month, inspired by a comment Elisa made about Cormoran and Joan’s deathbed conversation and how Strike may have misunderstood what was said, I wrote a post that asserted that, as long and as satisfying a novel as Troubled Blood is and as much attention as we have given here to exploring the artistry and meaning involved, there are as many Strike5 mysteries still left to be solved. See Have We Covered ‘Troubled Blood’? No. for that discussion.

Yesterday I listed 7+ unanswered questions about the Strike series that we neglect because we’ve been suckered into trusting our two narrators, Sherlock Strike the Amazing Memory Man and the Jungian Jungfrau Ellacott, who are no more dependable as story-tellers than Harry Potter, Rowling’s other misdirection delivery system. Read Cormoran Strike: Unanswered Questions for those subjects that our Dynamic Detecting Duo just refuse to think about despite Rowling-Galbraith dropping clues around them for stop-and-look-down discovery.

Today I want to list and discuss seven plus more unanswered questions that are specific to Troubled Blood. Dave Polworth, Lucy Fantoni, Charlotte Campbell, Jonny Rokeby, Shanker, Ted Nancarrow, and Cormoran Strike with a ‘plus’ question about Ellacott the Incredible Cartomantist are all featured. See you after the jump! [Read more…]

Cormoran Strike: Unanswered Questions

Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott are such thoughtful, insightful, and self-aware people whose penetrating intelligence is their shared defining characteristic — they mull over and detect as their vocation what other people (and the Metropolitan Police) miss in the minutia of daily living — that we are lulled into the conviction that they are ‘picking up on’ or ‘getting’ the important clues in their own lives about the mysteries they live within. As a rule, though, Robin the wannabe psychologist and Sherlock Strike are clueless about their own lives; self-reflective as each is, they ignore or otherwise neglect the strong signals and suggestive events that surround them.

We trusted the teen Harry Potter, our de facto narrative lens in the Hogwarts Saga, to catch the key clue he sees but which he does not understand and this inevitable but misplaced trust in the good guy-orphan was the means by which Rowling created the narrative misdirection the fooled us every year in that series, her signature ‘big twist’ at the story climax and denouement. In the Strike mysteries, as Oonaugh Kennedy observes about book-smart people being the most naive about their sex lives (Blood 270), the Amazing Memory Man and the Jungian Jungfrau are in the dark as often as not and oblivious to clues Rowling-Galbraith is giving the reader by putting them in the pair’s individual and shared blind-spots.

Strike explained to Robin when she observed that Cynthia Phipps’ joke about Anne Boleyn’s decapitation was rather tasteless given that Creed may very well have cut off, boiled down, and powdered Margot Bamborough’s head that this was a function of self-blindness. “She’s lived with it for forty years,” said Strike. “People who live with something that massive stop being able to see it. It’s the backdrop to their lives. It’s only glaringly obvious to everyone else” (Blood, 411). Our problem is that, though the author is being more than fair in presenting the back-drops to the lives of Strike and Ellacott, the mysteries are not “glaringly obvious” to us because we put such trust in our brilliant narrators that we neglect the unanswered questions in their lives.

I thought, as we begin the run-up to the publication of Ink Black Heart, that it would be a useful exercise to create a catalog of these mysteries hidden in plain sight, especially those highlighted in the massive and still opaque Troubled Blood. I’ve collected two batches of these off the top of my head, one for the series as a whole, the other just from Troubled Blood,  that I think we may learn more about in Strike6 and I hope you’ll contribute those you see that I have missed. The first batch today, then, after the jump, to be followed tomorrow with those specific to Troubled Blood. [Read more…]

Strike and Ellacott Files Podcast Makes Final Ink Black Heart Predictions.

Our friends at The Strike and Ellacott Files podcast have posted their final Ink Black Heart predictions show, revised in light of the cover and blurb.  They kindly included a couple of my predictions (one they liked, one they didn’t). They also gave a recommendation to Beatrice Grove’s brilliant first look at the cover.

In the interest of returning the favor, I urge everyone anticipating IBH to check it out.

BBC Production of Troubled Blood to Premiere This Fall

The Radio Times listed the BBC TV production of Troubled Blood as coming this autumn. I can only assume the TV program will be timed to coincide fairly closely with the debut of The Ink Black Heart, in hopes of sparking mutual interest. The most current cast list is available here. Of special interest are the returning cast.  Apart from Tom Burke as Strike and Holliday Grainger as Robin,* there’s Ben Crompton as Shanker, Jack Greenlees as Barclay, Kerr Logan as the Flobberworm Matthew, Ian Redford as Uncle Ted, Sarah Sweeny as Lucy and, most interestingly, Christina Cole as Izzy Chiswell, which suggests she may have more to do in this production than simply send an email. It also looks like a lot of the story will be told in flashback, given the age of the actress playing Margot Bamborough, and the inclusion of both a young Roy Phipps and a Young Cormoran Strike.

This fall will definitely be Strike Season. No word on when U.S. audiences will see the series, though.

*Note to journalists: she’s his partner, not a sidekick!