3 Galbraith Mistakes in Cuckoo’s Calling: Are The Wikipedia Divorce Dates a 4th?

Yesterday I pledged to write out the wildly speculative theory of the crimes Jonny Rokeby committed that moved him to agree to fake a paternity test and seem to be Cormoran Strike’s father. I explained there that the idea largely depends on the fact that the divorce dates listed in Rokeby’s wikipedia profile don’t match up with Cormoran’s conception and birth days in 1974.

I noted as an aside that this could just be a Wikipedia error. Because Wikipedia pages are not heavily vetted, mistakes creep in. This is less true of global celebrities and public figures, whose pages millions of people visit, reporters use as source material, and the subjects have a consequent interest in monitoring, but it happens.

I’m obliged to note before I offer the Heroin Dark Lord theory details that the Wikipedia entry may be mistaken because the author and editorial team just didn’t catch the detail error. Rowling approved, she says, the changes made in Goblet of Fire that made the Little Hangleton graveyard shades appear in the wrong order out of Voldemort’s wand. And there are at least three other flat out mistakes in Cuckoo’s Calling that make a date slip in the Rokeby Wikipedia page credible.

Here are the three mistakes in Cuckoo’s Calling. Do you think the Wiki divorce dates are a fourth? [Read more…]

Lethal White: Is Strike Rokeby’s Son? The Dates Don’t Seem To Match Up

I concluded yesterday’s post on the Rokeby-Jagger connection with the promise that I’d take a second look at the Wikipedia entry we’re given in Cuckoo’s Calling about Jonny Rokeby and why the dates don’t seem to “match up” with the story we’ve been given about Rokeby’s supposed paternity. Here goes!

We are told in Cuckoo that one of the Deadbeats is arrested on drug charges in 1975 while on a tour of the US. Their best-selling album (“multi-platinum”) also came out in 1975.

Cormoran was born 23 November 1974, the year before.

Do we know that birthday for sure? Or is it a Wiki-date? All the following discussion hangs on this date being correct.

StrikeWiki gives the year as “C. 1974” while StrikeFans says it definitively was 1974 (Rowling confirmed the day, not the year, in a 2015 tweet [note Ian Rankin’s comment on that thread; he’s a fan]).

Strike’s birthday party in Silkworm at Lucy’s home is celebrated on Saturday 20 November 2010. On p 110 we read, “Lucy appeared with the homemade cake, blazing with thirty six candles and decorated with what looked like hundreds of Smarties.”

Lucy is one for details, especially to do with observances of holidays and birthdays, we’ve been told, because of her nomadic upbringing. The candle number is correct.

Strike turned 36 in 2010, ergo, he was born in 1974.

Which presents a problem. From the Cuckoo Wiki page on Rokeby that Robin reads: [Read more…]

Lethal White: Rokeby, Jagger, and Heroin

I posted yesterday about why it is more than credible that Rowling/Galbraith’s fourth Cormoran Strike mystery, Lethal White, will involve a white horse of some kind. Today and tomorrow I want to begin my explanation of why I don’t think it will necessarily involve horses of an equine kind, however much I look forward (with Robin) to reading about Cormoran’s first horse-back ride.

To cut to the quick, I think the Lethal White ‘white horse’ that Rowling has been teasing readers with is heroin from Afghanistan rather than albino American paint horses or unicorns.

My first piece of evidence in this speculative argument is Jonny Rokeby and his resemblance to Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.

Evan Willis has argued here that he doubts Jonny Rokeby, as the Zeus figure in the Leda and the Swan mythological drama underlying the Strike mysteries, will make an appearance in the novels. That is a more than credible position considering the Aeschylus and Virgil parallels Willis cites. Karen Kebarle, though, is almost certainly closer to what’s likely in Strike 4; she said in a just recorded ‘Reading, Writing, Rowling’ episode about Lethal White that the great failing of the Strike series when compared with Harry Potter is the absence of a villain, a Moriarity, as much more powerful and dangerous than Cormoran as Voldemort was to the Boy Who Lived. If Willis is right and Rokeby remains just a haunting presence off-stage, Strike will only be fun detective stories.

Perhaps it is just wishful thinking on my part that this won’t be the case. Rowling has invested so much in the mysterious death of Leda Strike, though, that I think we’re fairly safe in assuming that solving this case is as large a part of the continuing drama as the relationship cum romance of Robin and Cormoran.

Moving forward, then, with the idea that Rokeby is the Voldemort/Moriarity of the Strike series,  what do we know about him and what, if anything, does he have to do with white horses?

The first thing we know about Jonny Rokeby, lead singer of the Deadbeats, is that his life runs as a fairly obvious caricature of Mick Jagger’s.

[Read more…]

Lethal White: The White Horse Evidence

We have less than a month before the publication of Lethal White so it is time for some serious fun. Speculating about where Rowling/Galbraith is headed is a delight, especially when Strike parallels with corresponding Potter novels and Rowling’s twitter and website postings are mixed in with what we have in the first three mysteries, parallels and postings we didn’t have in the run-up to any part of the Hogwarts Saga.

To start us off, I plan on posting three pieces about the meaning of the Strike 4 title, Lethal White, especially with respect to the growing consensus that it has something to do with horses. I first want to summarize the evidence for the equestrian bent (“White Horse!”) in the writings of some Potter Pundits, then point out the many parallels between what we know about the fictional Jonny Rokeby and the real life of Mick Jagger, and conclude with a discussion of the more likely meaning of Lethal White, namely, that it is a reference to heroin from Afghanistan and to the death of Leda Strike, the over arching story of the Doom Bar Detective’s series.

So, what evidence is there that Lethal White is all about horses and white horses at that? I came up with ten suggestions, not an especially magical number but one large enough to demand serious attention. [Read more…]

Guest Post: Lethal White and Dorothy Sayers? Rowling, Rankin, and James

This is less a ‘Guest Post’ per se than my comments on a note from ChrisC, a long time reader and frequent post-er at this site. He makes the suggestion that Lethal White, the fourth Cormoran Strike mystery, may echo in some ways a novel by one of Rowling’s favorite writers, Dorothy Sayers. First his note, then my three observations in haste:

I have two questions regarding Ms. Rowling’s upcoming 4th Strike mystery.

For my purposes, what can be known boils down to a few simple points:

  • “We know…that (JKR) has sketched the story of an office drama in which Robin goes undercover as the Personal Assistant to the CEO of a company (web)”.
  • She has recently released a twitter statement saying she has finished Book 4.  What’s notable about this tweet (aside from the notable lack of a release date) is the photo that comes with the tweet.  The photo is a file saver stick in the shape of a white horse.  The photo and tweet can be seen here.

With all this in mind, my question boils down to whether or not Ms. Rowling is drawing inspiration (as distinguished from influence) from one of the mystery writers of the past.  Specifically, I wonder if part of the inspiration for Lethal White might be Dorothy L. Sayer’s 1933 detective novel, Murder Must Advertise.  In that book, Lord Peter Wimsey does the unthinkable for a member of the upper classes, and gets an actual paying job in an advertising firm (under the pseudonym of Death Bredon, no less).

He’s there to solve a murder of course, and other critics have noted that Sayers drew on her own personal experience as an ad employee to give a good satire of office politics, and how advertising can take advantage of the working and middle classes.  There is even a sequence where Lord Peterbilt attends an office costume party in the guise of a harlequin.  One perceptive reader had some interesting thoughts about the symbolism of the harlequin, to the point where I do have to wonder if the harlequin might be a type of the figure of Hermes.

However, what makes me believe in at least the possibility that Lethal White could draw some of its plot elements from Murder Must Advertise comes down to just three points.

  • Both novels feature a detective figure going undercover in an office space business in order to solve a crime.
  • There is a discrepancy between the gender and identity of the private eye in each book.  Wimsey is obviously not Robin.  In fact, the closest analogue to Robin Ellacott in Sayer’s novels is Harriet Vane, a character notable by her total absence in MMA, except for a passing mention by Wimsey that he has a date with Harriet, and even then, her name is never mentioned.
  • I wonder if this complete absence of Harriet in the 8th Wimsey novel might have acted as a spur to Rowling by giving her the idea to switch the situation around so that this time, Harriet (i.e. Robin) gets a chance to shine in the spotlight for once.

So, there’s my thoughts on the matter.  What do you think?  My own belief is that it’s at least one avenue of consideration that can at least be kept open as a possibility until such time as her release of LW either confirms or puts such ideas out to pasture.

[John] Here are my three thoughts on this possibility after the reveations of the book blurb and further reading in Rowling’s possibe source materials for her Cormoran Strike novels: [Read more…]