Lethal White: Missing Page Mystery (2)

Way back in October, 2018, soon after the release of Lethal White, I noticed an oddity in the structure of the fourth Cormoran Strike novel (see Lethal White: The Missing Page Mystery‘). There is a page marking the beginning of the second part of the book when the investigation of the dead government minister begins. It reads, ‘Part Two.’ The mysterious bit is that there is no page at the start of the book that reads ‘Part One.’ My thought was and remains that this ‘Part Two’ — and the beginning of ‘Part Two’ being a near exact parallel with the meeting of Cormoran Strike with John Bristow in Cuckoo’s Calling — is a marker of the second half of the series, a seven book series having its natural turn half-way through book four (as Goblet of Fire does in ‘The Hungarian Horntail’ chapter).

Beatrice Groves commented at the time:

I like it John! I think we’ll have to see if the paperback comes out with the Part 1 page (I’m sure that either this is a mistake or you’re right: no-one deliberately leaves off ‘part 1’ pages) before speculating further (do you know when that paperback is due?).

The paperback Lethal White came out in the UK on 18 April 2019, a good month before its publication in the US, and I asked friends in the UK to check to see if ‘Part One’ was included in the new edition. Beatrice Groves reports:

So I went to check for you and 

*drum roll*

there is still no part 1 page!

I didn’t do an extensive search, but did note that it still misattributes the 1900 Ibsen translation (by Robert Farquharson Sharp) to Robert Farquharson – so it doesn’t look like there has been much proof reading between hard and paper back.

So what? Well, I think we can assume that the Part One page was intentionally left out, that ‘Part Two’ refers simultaneously to the second part of the book and of the series, which suggests as we have suspected for some time but especially after all the echoes of Goblet of Fire and of Cuckoo’s Calling in Lethal White that we are looking at a second seven book series from Rowling (and one that parallels the first).

Thank you, Professor Groves, for the help here. It’s a small thing compared to the inter- and intratextual evidence we’ve done but this marker is an important piece of evidence in itself, a confirmation of sorts for the greater findings.


  1. Louise Freeman says

    Did they correct the number of half-siblings from seven to eight? Or has young Switch still been forgotten?

  2. Joanne Gray says

    John, I do think it is looking very likely that you are right and that Lethal White is the middle of a 7 book series (although there’s a possibility of getting a few outliers after #7 if JKR so desires–since previously mentioned a possibility of 10 books. If so, it does seem (hopefully) that Book 7 will give us the answers to the mystery at the heart of the Strike series. Finally revealing the facts of Cormoran’s origin story, as well as, the identity of Leda’s murderer.

    If Book 1 Cuckoo’s Calling and Book 4 Lethal White–are the two books that give the outline to the solution in 7th book, then I think we can already see a few points that will show up in that solution:

    In both Book 1 CC and Book 4 LW, an illegitimate child is at the heart of the story’s mystery:
    Bk. 1: The “child” is Lula Landy the victim; Bk. 4: The “child” is Raphael Chiswell the murderer. Predicatively Book 7 should then be Cormoran Strike as the illegitimate “child” at the heart of that story, the revelation of Leda’s killer, as well as their motive.

    In both Book 1 and Book 4 the parts played by these illegitimate children are victim and murderer, respectively. I am as certain as I can be that Cormoran will not be playing either of these two parts, unless on some psychological level–depending on who the killer turns out to be. I confess I’m not sure how this will translate in Book 7 with Strike as both the detective and son.

    Another recurring aspect in both Books 1 and 4, is both have an aristocratic father:
    Bk. 1: Lula’s adoptive father Sir Alec Bristow; Bk. 4: Raphael’s biological father is aristocrat Jasper Chiswell. We are still waiting for the answer to Cormoran’s biological father, although, right now it is thought he is Jonny Rokeby. Not an aristocrat (except in the rock world).

    Finally on the subject of fathers in the previous two books:
    Bk. 1 Cuckoo’s Calling: Both (biological and adoptive) fathers of Lula are deceased.
    Bk. 4 Lethal White: Raphael actually kills his biological father.

    So in Bk. 7, after we are given the definitive answer to the question of Cormoran’s biological father, and if it turns out to be someone other than Jonny, and maybe even that he is deceased–or if still alive, then maybe he will be the victim in book 7?

    Of course, it’s possible that Strike, like Lula, could have a biological father (Jonny) and an “adoptive” father (Uncle Ted) all along but they aren’t verified until Book 7.

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