Guest Post: Galbraith Says Leda Strike’s Death Was Murder Rather than Suicide

From Kelly Loomis —

A post which should be exciting for regular HogPro readers was made on Twitter this morning by The Rowling Library. This tweet linked to audio clips of J. K. Rowling on her official Robert Galbraith website. There are some audios on the new website in which Rowling talks about some topics of the Cormoran Strike books. 

These audio clips seem to have come from various interviews and can be found under the “Discover” tab at the top of the website.  It doesn’t give the source for these interviews and breaks them up into subjects such as “Strike”, “Why London,” and “Denmark Street”. 

What may be the most interesting to HogPro readers is the confirmation of Strike’s belief that Leda was actually murdered.  We have been speculating on who that murderer could be while not having confirmation that it really was a murder to solve.  Below I have transcribed the remarks as best I could. It comes from the clip titled “Strike”.

“He is – ah – in some ways haunted by two dark angels…which…female angels anyway… his mother who was, um, murdered but that murder was never, came, to trial. And by his ex Charlotte, with whom he’s been with for 16 years on and off and in book four, we finally meet Charlotte properly so I’m enjoying writing that at the moment.  But, yeah, so there are certain things hanging over his life and of course that does hugely color his attitude to work and to relationships.”

Rowling’s remarks about her murder not coming to trial confused me because we had been told in Career of Evil that Whittaker had been brought to trial for Leda’s murder.  We are told in Chapter 6 while Robin reads Whittaker’s Wikipedia page that “When Leda Whittaker died of a heroin overdose in 1994, Whittaker was charged with her murder.  He was found not guilty. ” Chapter 10 of Career of Evil gives us a great deal of information about Whittaker and Leda’s relationship in the form of Strike’s remembrances of that time and of Whittaker’s trial for her murder. 

Since she was writing book four, Lethal White, at the time of this quote, the only conclusion I have is that she meant that the “real” murderer had not been brought to trial yet. I am interested in what thoughts you as HogPro readers have about her “reveal”?


  1. Joanne Gray says

    It’s good to have definitive proof that Leda’s death was in fact a murder. (Although, Strike’s certainty that his mother was murdered left no real doubt in reader’s mind.)

    Ironically, Strike also believed Whittaker was the murderer, but readers knew he could be wrong about that because of his prejudice towards his step-father and the real possibility that it tainted his conclusion. (Confirmation bias.)

    The fact that Whittaker had accusers—Cormoran and Shanker—no doubt brought the murder charge against Whittaker (as well as he was the likely suspect if Leda didn’t commit suicide). So once Whittaker was ruled as not guilty—the cause of death was sealed as suicide by heroin overdose (as it appeared in the current Wikipedia article that Robin read).

    I also think that JK Rowling had to have meant that “the real killer hadn’t been tried yet”.

    Hopefully book 5 will provide the lead that allows Cormoran to finally break open his own mother’s cold case. In Troubled Blood he is looking to provide answers to the daughter of a mother who has been missing for 40 years (1974). Solving the 40 year cold case first, should provide him with the template to finally solve and bring closure to his own mother’s 20 year (1994) cold case.

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