Rowling Finishes Strike5 — Big Hint? Aleister Crowley’s Horoscope Header!

The Official Announcement this afternoon on twitter:

It has been a busy day at the neglected Rowling twitter feed. Careful observers will note that she re-tweeted a posting from American comedian (and hard core leftist and atheist) Patton Oswalt a few hours before this book announcement and that she changed the header and cameo on her page as well.

Nota bene: her global social media following post TERFing controversy has grown on the twitter platform by 200,000. So much for the disappearance of Rowling fandom…

Three quick notes that we will discuss here at greater length in the next week:

(1) Nick Jeffery has ID’d the horoscope in the header as the natal chart of Aleister Crowley.

I’d love to think she is trolling us here at HogwartsProfessor because of the Baphomet posts I put up earlier in the month (in which I explained that she isn’t a Satanist or Crowley disciple), but have to think that it really is a pointer to the return of Jeff Whittaker in Strike5, in parallel with Career of Evil, and that a la the death of Harry’s godfather in Order of the Phoenix, we will be seeing the death of Cormoran’s step-father in his fifth adventure. Whittaker is the ardent satanist and Crowley devotee in the series. Good news for Shanker fans!

(2) Rowling is back on twitter, it seems, with the first real postings of note — with the exception of 19 December, of course — since January 2019. The sabbatical seems to have been a New Year’s resolution along the lines of, “I won’t post again until I have submitted the Strike5 manuscript.”

‘Da Tweet’ on transgender overreach? That may have been a family passion, it turns out. See Dr Neil Murray’s private twitter account, @Slowfinger45, for his several re-tweeted postings on transgender matters here, here, here, and here (there are more; hat tip to Nick Jeffery again for discovering both Murray’s ‘Fat Cops’ rock band — husband plays the keyboards, hence ‘Dr Slowfinger’– and his hidden twitter account).

I wonder, though, if the new cameo picture of her with hand over mouth isn’t a joke of sorts, a signal to her Universal Studio handlers, that she isn’t going to be speaking her mind here about social justice and political issues; Patton Oswalt is covering the impeachment hearings for her…

(3) I have been re-reading the Strike novels this past week, and, half-way through Lethal White for the umpteenth time, I realized who killed Leda Strike. It was Uncle Ted. More on that tomorrow and in days to come! Let the full bore conversation about Strike and speculation about the new novel begin!




  1. Louise Freeman says

    Uncle Ted killed Leda. Ok, John….. I should know better than to doubt you by now but….

    It would certainly be one of the biggest good-guy-turns-out-to-be-bad since Scabbers and Professor Moody turned out to be Voldy minions….

    Next, I presume you’ll be telling us Whittaker sent the roses, and secretly pulled strings to get his stepson into Oxford.

    And that Matthew will generously give the full bank account to Robin in the divorce negotiations, before sacrificing his life by taking a bullet for Strike and whispering to Robin, with his dying gasps, that he hopes they’ll be happy together….

    Although, if you can figure out a way to save poor Shanker, I will consider that your highest accomplishment.

  2. After giving it some thought, it is just possible to form at least something resembling a rough sketch of what “could” be expected from the next “Strike Mystery”. My guesses (and that’s all they are) for Book 5 amount to the following:

    The case itself “could” involve the investigation of a poisoning murder. My reasoning behind this is a clue left behind by Ms. Murray herself in the form of a brochure for the Chelsea Physic Garden. The Garden itself was founded by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries. In 1917, one of Rowling’s sources and inspiration, Agatha Christie, applied for and won a pharmaceutical degree from the Society. It is this series of linking historical facts that makes me think Strike and Robin could turn to the same real life Society for help in cracking their next fictional case. It would form a perfect in-story wink and acknowledgement of the Queen of Mystery from one of her most successful pupils. And now I’m stuck with the idea of Ms. Christie herself as teacher of Potions at Hogwarts.

    The investigation could center in and around an academic setting. This idea is not my own, but rather all credit is due to the insightful thought of Dr. Louise Freeman. It was her hypothesis that went as follows: “the storyline will involve some sort of scandal, corruption or crime in an educational setting”. Therefore I’m willing to say that the fatal poisoning itself will take place in this very same University setting. It also is not entirely out of the question that the murder victim “could” be some erstwhile teacher who probably never lived up to the profession.

    The final possibility, in addition to all the others, is that we will see the return of at least two characters from the previous books in the series. The first predicted return, as stated in the article above, is Jeff Whitaker. To this I think a second could added. We could just see the return of Supermodel Ciara Porter. The reasoning behind this is yet another picture clue left behind by the Presence. It’s the copy of an (overly self-dramatizing) rock album by a 80s band known as The Smiths. On that album was a song entitled “Shakespeare’s Sister”. The writer of the song once explained that the subject of the piece was a girl who is always overshadowed and how it was easy for others not to take her seriously. This is just how Ciara described herself in “Cuckoo’s Calling”. She also mentioned in that book that she was gearing up for taking a degree at Cambridge. This plot thread would make a perfect fit for Dr. Freeman’s theory that Book 5 would involve Strike sleuthing in an academic setting.

    It is the return of Whitaker, however, which I think may be the most important potential plot element. It would make sense that Strike could uncover a clue that ties Whitaker to the poisoning. If this idea should figure in any way in the plot of the next book, it would serve as what I can only describe as a crisis catalyst for the main character. The knowledge that Whitaker is connected with the case he is investigating would be just the thing to throw him off balance. Strike could then make the tactical mistake of turning the investigation into a crusade to see if he could bring to justice the man he’s convinced is responsible for the death of his mother. Sometimes in crime investigations, certain investigators will be taken off the case if it is felt that they are too personally involved with the proceedings for their own good. Their professionalism will crumble, and their ability to work properly may be impaired. These are the stakes that could wind up happening to Strike if Whitaker is involved. It is all too easy to see both men involved in a nerve-wracking game of cat and mouse, with the desperation climbing as the stakes rise higher. It is at least one way in which Strike 5 could serve as the series Black Text, similar to function “Order of the Phoenix” played in the “Potter” saga.

    This brings us to the question of what happens beyond that. All is speculation at this point. Therefore all I can do is maintain my previous stance re: Blue Oyster Cult and Rokeby as a courier in a drug operation. I expect that Strike will be able to corner Whitaker and place him in a metaphorical checkmate. Whitaker will be forced to reveal (through Strike taking the law into his own hands?) that the poisoning was tied up with a drug cartel, and that his bosses were just trying to close accounts. Maybe they promised Whitaker they would leave Switch alone if he did them this favor. In that sense, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. He could then drop a bomb on Strike by declaring he knows who really killed his mom. Before he can do that, he’s taken out of the series, either by an assassin’s bullet, or by other professional means. I just can’t shake the idea that this installment will be the last we see of Whitaker before he’s shuffled permanently off-stage. However, Strike is able to learn, to his horror, through the Blue Oyster Cult album, that Whitaker was telling the truth, and, eventually, that Rokeby is the guilty party.

    This is far as I can go with things, however. Just remember that in the end it’s all down to the writer. All I can do is just the final product is entertaining.

Speak Your Mind