Lethal White Publication Date At Last

Coming on September 18… The official blurb-synopsis below points to the original Lethal White speculation here when the title was announced that it is about the equine genetic disease called by that name —

‘I seen a kid killed…. He strangled it, up by the horse.’

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been – Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much more tricky than that.

There seem to be correspondences between Books 1 and 4 already in the story set-up. Please share your thoughts below!



  2. Beatrice Groves says

    I think we know what that ‘secretive inner sanctum within Parliament’ might be – and, rather surprisingly, it comes with another equine connection! I think the inner sanctum will be St Mary Undercroft in the Houses of Parliament (which turned up as a Rowling Twitter header in February: https://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/name-that-jkr-twitter-header-ceiling/). This chapel was completed by King Edward I in 1297 and was where the Court and the Royal Household worshipped. Because it was underground it was a rare medieval structure to survive the Palace of Westminster ‘s nineteenth century fire though it was still heavily restored in the later nineteenth century (by Edward Barry, who tried to retain the Gothic feel). The Chapel is a Royal Peculiar (directly controlled by the monarch – unlike most Church of England Churches which are under the jurisdiction of a bishop). Now, it is mainly used for the weddings and baptisms of the families of MPs and Peers – which remains its most likely use in the plot of Lethal White.
    I think Rowling will be drawn to the Gothic fantasy of its roof carving (the part of the building that appeared in her Twitter header) – all dragons, beasts and foliage – and to the building’s slightly unecclesiastical history when it degenerated into a a wine cellar and a dining room for the Speaker of the Commons (when holes were bored into the wall for chimneys). One of these ‘not very Chapel-like’ uses might be relevant to Lethal White, given the equine genetic disease (‘Lethal White’) and the surprising foregrounding of horses in the quote we’ve been given – ‘He strangled it, up by the horse’ – (I suspect the editor sent that back with ‘are you sure you don’t mean ‘house’?’). This is that legend has it that Oliver Cromwell stabled his horses in St Mary’s Undercroft….!

  3. Louise Freeman says

    Looks like we’ll be ponying up some cash and getting back in the saddle in mid September, I just re-read Cuckoo’s Calling and I hope to get through the other two by then.

    Even if I don’t get my Olympic backdrop, it looks like there are shaping up to be a number of Goblet of Fire elements.. Most notably, a mystery centered on memories— GoF is where we first see the Pensieve. A sinister manor house in the countryside? Sounds like the Riddle home of Little Hangleton; wonder if there’s a graveyard? Strike’s fame causing him grief? Just like Harry’s came to the forefront in GoF, with Rita Skeeter’s yellow journalism plaguing not just him but his friends.. I wonder if Robin’s lovely green dress will turn up again in a Yule Ball equivalent? I think it will inevitably turn up towards the end of the series, as Robin’s perfectly fitted wedding dress when she and Cormy finally tie the knot.

    From a professional standpoint, Billy sounds like a great chance for Robin to dust off (or better yet, resume) her psychology training.

    Hurry up, September: the Strike groupies are chomping at the bit!

  4. This is just a minor list of the takeaways I was able to glean from this brief press release.

    1. I think we’ve answered a question about Robin’s relation to Strike’s business for Book 4. A while back, the HogPro Professor wrote about a dropped clue for one of this book’s plot points involving possible shenanigans in an office building. Another plot prediction that seems to have borne out is “(Robin, sic) is embedded in the charted firm as Strike’s partner to find out who the baddie is in that company.”

    The link for the article in question can be found here:


    2. This is the first official plot synopsis for a Strike book to put me in mind of a fairy-tale narrative the first time I read it. It almost makes me expect to read a scenario where there’s a knock on the door and Strike answers it to find someone’s left a trail of breadcrumbs for them to follow, and as a result both CBS and Robin get lost in a dark wood somewhere. I don’t really expect that to happen, of course. It’s just that this outline sounds so much like what happened in the Forbidden Forest chapter of HP 1.

    The second time I read the blurb, I realized it also sounded like a perfect English Gothic novel, the sort of book Wilkie Collins might write if he were alive today.

    3. It just occurred to me to wonder if there is any symbolic significance in the fact that the book jacket has a green color scheme to it. Technically, it’s green plus white, so I just wondered if it might be a very covert reference to two halves of the alchemical color scheme.

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