Louise’s Predictons for Future Cormoran Strike books

After finishing The Silkworm, and re-reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, one thing is clear:  there are a million different directions this series could go.  Between Cormoran’s extended and largely dysfunctional family, the assorted supporting characters we’ve met and the tantalizing hints dropped about both the protagonists’ histories, there remain enough questions to fill up the five remaining books, even if our heroes’ never get another paying client (though for the sake of their wallets, I hope they do!)

One thing I have already noted:  Strike claims to have eight half-siblings.  The Wikipedia article on his rock-star daddy lists 6 through his father; we also know his sister Lucy.  Either Rowling miscalculated or Supergroupie Leda still has one more offspring out of there we haven’t  heard about yet.  Beyond that…  will Strike ever establish a relationship with his father?  What really happened when Leda died?  What drove Robin away from her psychology degree and into the unusual hobby of stunt driving?  Why is Charlotte continuing to taunt Cormoran, confirmed child-hater, with a miscarried/aborted/never existent baby.  And most importantly, how did Matthew ever manage to slip the otherwise sensible Robin a love potion?

I’ve had a little time to consider John’s idea that the Cormoran Strike series would parallel the 7 books of Harry Potter.  Here is my response.  Spoilers, ho!Given how well John nailed the killer in Silkworm, I think it behooves us to take these ideas seriously.  Certainly having the second book in the series be, at heart, a mystery about a book and its potential for evil when misused is intriguing, and I look forward to John’s further post on that topic.  I will admit that it is harder to see the same obvious link between Philosopher’s Stone and Cuckoo’s Calling. I guess the closest parallel I see is Cormoran, like Harry, has a foot in two worlds:  his mother’s nomadic and working-class life versus the uber-rich “magical” celebrity world of his father.  Like Harry, he seems to only have been minimally aware of this world as a child, having only met his biological father twice; unlike Harry, who jumped at the chance to live in the Wizardig World once he knew it existed; Cormoran prefers to dwell with the Muggles have have as little to do with the celebrity elites as possible.  Unfortunately, his profession is increasingly putting him in contact with exactly that social class (and he needs the clients that can afford to pay generously) so, like Harry, he frequently has to deal with people who annoyingly seem to know his father better than he does.

So, assuming the pattern is real and does continue, what could be next in the series?

Book 3: The suggestion that Strike and Robin would exonerate a long-assumed-guilty Prisoner is a good one, but I can think of at least two other plots or subplots that would also parallel PoA and for which seeds might have already been planted.  Harry and friends, after all, weren’t exactly on a mission to prove the Sirius Black’s innocence; they spent most of the book assuming the guy was out to murder them.  The truth was revealed to them when they finally met him, not but it wasn’t something they were ever  able to prove to any authorities. Sirius the Innocent Prisoner would wind up dying as Sirius the Wanted Fugitive.

Far more of the plot of PoA was spent on establishing Harry’s vulnerability to Dementors, and in his eventual mastery of the Patronus Charm to vanquish them. It is fairly common knowledge that the Dementors were inspired by Ms. Rowling’s own experience with clinical depression, and anyone who heard my Mugglenet Academia guest appearance knows, the Patronus Charm is derived from cognitive behavioral therapy, the treatment Ms. Rowling successfully received. I am thinking the mystery might involve either someone being treated for mental illness or a therapist, in which case, Robin’s background in psychology may come in handy, Either that, or there could be a subplot involving either Cormoran or, more likely,  Robin struggling with clinical depression.  Breaking up with a fiancé, even one as pathetic as Matthew, can certainly do that to a person.

A longer shot, but one I’ll throw out: In addition to being the Prisoner, Sirius was also Harry’s godfather, and that was his primary purpose in the series. In Silkworm, we learned Cormoran is also a godfather; albeit pretty much the polar opposite of Sirius. Sirius was attentive from Harry’s birth, buying him his first and third broomsticks, and was determined to be as much a part of Harry’s life as possible, once he got out of prison. He was also racked with guilt that he hadn’t been the Secret-Keeper, and thus failed to save James’ life when Harry was an infant. Cormoran, in contrast, did succeed in saving his godson’s father’s life, but manages to feel guilt at that action, since he had to let another man die in the process. We have to assume the decision to name Strike godfather (and to make the child his namesake…  makes you wonder what the original middle name was?) came after this heroic action; I don’t see anything else that points to strike as prime godfather material. Clearly, he can barely tolerate being in the presence of little Timothy Comoran.  But, there are a lot of reasons for the son of a cop to go missing…  what if Strike is forced to investigate his disappearance, or worse?  I can’t believe Timothy is here only to make the point that Strike is not fond of children….  he could have just as easily been strong-armed into reading Kayla the Kangaroo to one of those unruly nephews that with whom he is equally uncomfortable.

Book 4. Rowling gave us the exact dates of the Silkworm plot (Nov. and Dec 2010, about 8 months after the events of Cuckoo’s Calling) and choose to reference a real-world event:  Prince William’s and Kate Middleton’s engagement.  Assuming Cormoran Strike #3 takes place sometime in 2011, that would make it convenient to set #4 around the time of the London Summer Olympics.  That backdrop alone would give the book a nice connection to Goblet of Fire. Could we have a mystery involving a famous but exploited athlete, an underhanded coach or corrupt Olympic officials?

In addition to sports,  GoF is also when Rowling began seriously skewering the news media, in the form of Rita Skeeter, yellow journalist extraordinaire.  Interestingly, in the first chapter of Silkworm, we met Dominic Culpepper, who seems to be an anti-Rita; doing what an investigative journalist should do:  print the truth and use the media to expose genuine corruption, something dear Rita is only willing to do when Hermione is blackmailing her.  So, a news-media related mystery would also fit well thematically. We know from Daddy Dearest’s Wikipedia entry that one of Cormoran’s half-sisters is a well-known TV presenter; will some Britsh news anchor die a gruesome death?

Book 5. Order of the Phoenix was where Rowling pointed out everything that is wrong with the educational system, so I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that it is this volume, rather than #3, that will reveal more about Robin’s interrupted academic career.  I have a feeling there might be a professor or tow at her alma mater that would make Dolores Umbridge look like one of her kittens. Or, maybe  Supermodel Ciara will have given up show-biz to pick her her deferred studies at Cambridge. In any case, I would greatly enjoy JKR’s aiming her satiric pen at higher education, so I hope that is a direction she would consider taking.  Another possibility is for Strike and Robin to expose corruption and incompetency in some government agency or other Powerful Bureaucracy.

Book 6 (and 7?) Yes, it’s getting late and I’m running out of ideas.  Surely Robin will have some more formal training by then; could our protagonists get set up for a Half-Blood Prince-style conflict where one wants to go strictly “by the book” and one wants to take a more creative approach that gets better results?  Will there be a case of the stopped clock being right for one,  where the person the client initially suspects does, in fact, turn out to be the killer, just as Harry was, for once, right about Droco joining the Death Eaters?

What will be interesting to see is to what extent the books stay stand-alone or if there will be a more over-arching plot/mystery that spans multiple volumes.  For instance, could Book 6 be spent gathering information about someone’s early life and Book 7 spent putting that information to use?  Will Robin and Strike wind up on the run from the law or in a literal war zone?   Other than my sincere hope that loose ends will be tied up (and that both Strike and Robin wind up with suitable romantic partners, not each other!) I don’t dare guess further about Book 7…. yet.


  1. Chris Calderon says

    As to whether or not the Strike Series will continue to echo or even become a kind of readers guide to the Potter books, I don’t know. I’ll admit, I’m kind of on the fence as to whether or not that’s even what’s going on with this series, and I’m not smart enough to offer much one way or the other.

    All I can do right now is point out some interesting symbolism that I’ve picked up so far in my reading. Aside from Bombyx Mori, there’s the photo in Elizabeth Tassel’s office featuring her standing between Joseph North and Michael Fancort, with Owen Quine standing off to the side.

    I don’t know if the position of the characters is important, but I did note the color contrast between North and Fancort, with North being described in terms of light (almost gold), and Fancort representing Black. Quine is interesting, inasmuch as Ms. Rowling has used the image of real life figure of rock musician David Bowie as a symbolical Rubeus. Together, these three character do make up a collective image of the three stages.

    Also, Ms. R. makes reference to Lady Ottoline Morrel, at one point. That placed a thought in my head, and after doing some digging, I’m wondering if this isn’t an oblique reference to the Bloomsbury Group. I’m not talking about Ms. R’s UK publisher. I mean an actual literary clique that was popular and quite influential during the 20s and 30s at the height of the Modernist movement (in fact, I think for many the Group epitomized Modernism).

    I found reference to Lady Morrel’s part in the Bloomsburys from Wikipedia, which mentions:

    “Close friends, brothers, sisters, and even sometimes partners of the friends were not necessarily members of Bloomsbury: Keynes’s wife Lydia Lopokova was only reluctantly accepted into the group,[12] and there were certainly “writers who were at some time close friends of Virginia Woolf, but who were distinctly not ‘Bloomsbury’: T. S. Eliot, Katherine Mansfield, Hugh Walpole”.[13] Another is Vita Sackville-West, who became “Hogarth Press’s best-selling author”.[20] Members cited in “other lists might include Ottoline Morrell, or Dora Carrington, or James and Alix Strachey”.

    The wiki link for the Group can be found here:


    The fact that Ms. Rowling makes a possible reference to the group may or not be clue to at least one of the themes of Silkworm. It has to do with the artistic outlook of Bloomsbury, which, taken altogether, could be described as a kind of literary snobbism combined with the usual list of hedonism. These were people who claimed to have respect for classic art and literature without displaying much understanding or sympathy for the world view that entails. They certainly would have looked down the work and Tolkien and Lewis, if they could ever be bothered to care. In fact, T.S. Eliot had a falling out with the Group.

    It could be that the reference through Morrel is a sign of possible satire. It could be that the novel offers a contrast between a stultifying literary elitism that proclaims that value of art on the surface, yet underneath is crass and decadent, and whose outlook has infected the publishing and critical world, perhaps even, in some way contributing to the decline of literacy and the dire fortunes of book publishing. All this being contrasted with the Mythopoeic aesthetics of Tolkien and Eliot.

    Just a thought, doesn’t mean I’m right.

  2. Kathleen says

    either the title is missing an I or there is yet another word out there I don’t know of! I have yet to read this book(it just came in on my wait list at the library) so I am not reading commentary on it yet. But I will come back!

  3. Kiara Cohen says

    As thrilling as the idea of Potter parallels are to me, I don’t want to start over analysing so early in the series. I liked the idea that the book in The Silkworm could be a parallel for Riddle’s diary, but then again, Rowling’s comments on the new series give me the idea that she particularly wants to move away from Harry Potter and the fame it created for her. Almost as if she wants this series to be judged on its own merits, since she went to all the trouble of writing under a pseudonym. I suppose we’ll just have to see.

    PS: Having been a Harry/Ginny supporter from the beginning and also having correctly predicting that Rowling wanted them together later in the series; I think she means the same to happen with Robin and Strike. As with Harry and Ginny, there are moments throughout that make them seem strangely compatible and they seem to understand each other incredibly well. Also, at first Strike hasn’t the slightest interest in her as anything more than a secretary, but as he gets over Charlotte he becomes more and more keen for her to stay, more eager to involve her in his life and investigations, more critical of her fiance and any other man who attempts to flirt with her, and constantly argues with himself about how attractive she is and how he shouldn’t let her get too close. That seems like the same route that Harry walked before he gave in to being romantically interested in Ginny. I may be wrong, obbiously, but I hope I’m right.

  4. Just a couple of thoughts: I hope the Strike series gets no closer to HP than some familiar street names and a coincidental magazine cover; I just think JKR wouldn’t want to seem limited by paralleling the two separate works.
    Also, in chapt. 2 of The Cuckoo’s Calling, there is the line: ‘She checked her watch again (the sapphire glittered and her heart leapt; she would watch that stone glitter all the rest of her life)’. I took that to mean that the issue of Robin’s marriage to Matthew was settled early-on.
    I think JKR has done really well so far in this series and am eagerly awaiting the third installment.

  5. In case this hasn’t been reported elsewhere, here are two good links containing info on the upcoming Strike novel.

    The first releases a bit of plot detail. It seems the story ” “will be centered around the experience of returning soldiers.”


    And Mugglenet.com has a some valuable info on the novel’s title, and a link to the Blue Oyster Cult song that appears to have inspired it (cool!).


    What I find valuable about the Muggle.net source is that they may have found a clue as to what the plot of the third Strike book will be. Let’ just say that if they’re correct, well, somewhere Aldous Huxley may be perhaps having a bit to say about things.

    A final thought is a comment Mrs. Rowling has to say about the character of Robin, calling her “good – but likeable”. I like that distinction she makes between a person’s moral stature and their reliability. I think it shows her awareness that saying “Goodness” is important isn’t the same as saying it is likeable, that in fact Goodness may sometimes be “Uncanny”.

    “Thought you ought to know”.

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