Rowling Reveals WhoDunnit in ‘Career of Evil’ Prepublication Excerpts? Maybe!

COEYesterday, I posted my first thoughts on the two prepublication excerpts from Career of Evil posted on The Guardian and TIME websites last week.

I woke up this morning with the revelation that, if two premises are true about how the third book works, we have a very, very good idea of who the killer is — ten days before we have the novel. Your hints? It’s about the baby Charlotte claims she was carrying, the stepfather convicted of murdering Leda Strike, Jack the Ripper, and Prisoner of Azkaban.

blackIf you want to share in some wild speculation, all of it grounded in what we know from Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm, head on over to to read all about it. Those of you who have signed up have already received the url in an email.

You won’t want to miss this throwback to predictions made before the last three Harry Potter novels, especially if you were too young or not yet in the fandom at that time. This is Rowling Reading fun of the best kind. I’m beside myself with anticipation to read what you think!

Rowling Releases Two Pre-publication ‘Career of Evil’ Excerpts!

LegOn 9 October, the publishers of J. K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike mysteries took a play from the Harry Potter Mania playbook and posted two excerpts, a prologue and first chapter, from Career of Evil, the third installment in her open-ended seven part series.

Saracens_FC_logo.svgLinks to the excerpts and my first magical seven thoughts on what is revealed, confirmed, and suggested in misleading fashion in these fascinating preview pieces — to include a woman’s dismembered leg and a Rugby Club called the Saracens — can be found at, my new member’s only weblog devoted to discussion of the Doom Bar Detective’s adventures. Membership is on the house, of course, and if you signed up for the free pdf on Strike I offered in July, you’ve already received a notice of the site’s Grand Opening.

I look forward to seeing you all there for cogitation and speculation about Jo Rowling’s latest!

MuggleNet Academia: Cormoran Strike and the Invisibility Cloak – Happy Birthday, Harry Potter and Jo Rowling!

Cuckoo 1JKR hits the big Five-Oh today, Harry turns 35, and MuggleNet Academia rolls out its first show devoted to the elephant in the common room, Cormoran Strike, the Doom Bar Detective. What do these mysteries tell us about Harry Potter? About Jo Rowling as a writer? Are they a key, as the books suggest, to what the author thinks her previous books meant? Who are the bad guys of these books — and are they bad enough that Rowling chose to write under another name to avoid their wrath?

CareerOfEvil-UK-US-800x611Dolores Gordon-Smith, accomplished mystery maven and author of the Jack Haldean ‘Golden Age’ detective thrillers, and Karen Kebarle, English professor at Algonquin College and Potter Pundit, join Keith Hawk and me in a discussion of my paper ‘Five Reasons Jon Rowling Didn’t Want You to Know She Writes the Cormoran Strike Mysteries’ (you can download that provocative essay here).

It’s a rollicking, free-wheeling back and forth between serious readers about the new books by the best selling author of our times, of all time. Give it a listen, read the free pdf, and let me know what you think in the comment boxes below!

The Five Reasons Jo Rowling Didn’t Want You to Know She Writes the Cormoran Strike Mysteries

2013Happy Birthday, Jo and Harry!

To celebrate JKR’s 50th and Harry’s 35th, Keith Hawk and I invited Karen Kebarle of Algonquin College in Ottawa and Dolores Gordon-Smith, author of the Jack Haldean mysteries, to do something different on MuggleNet Academia, namely, discuss the Cormoran Strike detective novels. At last — and at length and in depth!

GalbraithTo focus our discussion I wrote up a 17 page argument detailing the five reasons why our birthday girl decided to write her mysteries under a pseudonym. You can download that paper here. I’ll post a link to MuggleNet Academia for our animated back-and-forth about where I’m right (and where our guests think I’m off the road and in the ditch upside-down!) as soon as Keith has finished his edits and added the theme songs.

Again, Happy Birthday, Jo, Harry, and fandom!

New Cormoran Strike Novel Details: Plot, Publishing Dates for ‘Career of Evil’

CareerOfEvil-UK-US-800x611The plot and publishing dates of J. K. Rowling’s new Cormoran Strike novel, Career of Evil,  were announced today at Robert As predicted in talks I gave at the Chestnut Hill and MISTI-Con gatherings, Career will almost certainly be the book that triggers the tsunami of readers to the series — as Prisoner of Azkaban did for the Hogwarts Saga. Read on for details!


“Little, Brown Book Group today announced that the next Cormoran Strike crime novel by Robert Galbraith, Career of Evil, is to be published on 20th October in the US, and 22nd October 2015 in the UK. Little, Brown also revealed the cover for the third book in the series, and further details about the story.


“When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.


“With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…


Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.”


The title, Career of Evil, is from a Patti Smith song that Smith wrote for Blue Oyster Cult. You can listen to the song here, if you like. Scroll down past the anti-Semitism bit… Who knew Smith hated Jews? I knew Rowling was a big fan of The Smiths (even dressing up like them and wearing the heavy eye liner make-up) – but Patti Smith?

Anyway, because the Strike mysteries are written in parallel with their numeric counterpart in the Hogwarts novels — I kid you not — we can expect that Career of Evil will be about the mysterious underworld informant that has played significant parts in both Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. His role in the second book was to get Cormoran a job interview with a mobster as an enforcer. Cormoran accepts 500 Pounds from the Godfather to break a client’s son’s arm, i.e. to send a message, which, of course, Cormoran does not do. Unfortunately, he also spends the 500 pounds and doesn’t get around to repaying it.


I think we can be pretty sure that the bad guy takes this out on both Cormoran and his friend for having deceived him. The Doom Bar Detective has had his picture in the papers often enough that the tech mafioso realizes he was set up as well as short changed. Hence the severed leg — a pointer to Strike’s infirmity, to the horse’s head of The Godfather, and to violence against women, a Rowling thematic touchstone.

The mystery figure is an echo of Sirius Black in Prisoner of Azkaban and we should expect, as was the case of Harry’s third year adventures, a good deal of narrative release, back-story hinted at in the first two books that will be the substance of the drama in the next four mysteries. Which is to say, more on Rokeby, Lida Strike, Cormoran’s Army career and the accident that cost him a leg, and, hurrah, why Robin left University and is beholden to her tosser of a fiancee.

It promises to be great — and, yes, we’ll be discussing it here at Hogwarts Professor in great detail in the months between now and the October release. Can you say ‘Midnight Madness’? The mania returns…