Troubled Blood: The Dark Sides to Two Old Mates

One of the most notable moments of Troubled Blood was when Strike acknowledged Robin as his “best mate.” Up until that moment, Robin had assumed that title belonged to Dave Polworth; other readers might have assumed it was Nick Herbert. By the end of Troubled Blood, however, both men have shown their darker sides. It is easy to see why Robin has been promoted to best bud as well as detective partner.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate Dave’s service in this book. His assistance to Joan, Ted, Strike and Lucy was admirable, He provided physical help– everything from home repairs to taking them food in the flood to, most importantly, leading the team that escorted Lucy and Strike through the floodwaters so they could be at Joan’s deathbed. And, he gave Strike and Ted emotional support, through his pub invitations, serving as a pallbearer and his presence at the scattering of Joan’s ashes. He is a loyal friend, through and through. 

But, like Strike, he’s a bit of a jerk at times. His hyper-nationalism, to to point of wanting to restrict the purchase of property in Cornwall to those who can prove ancestry, is off-putting, even to Strike. He’ll win no awards as either Husband- or Father -of-the-Year. He’s an excessively permissive parent, allowing his girls to run wild, even at a funeral wake. He had no qualms about quitting his job and uprooting his family, without even the decency to consult his wife about the plan first. And, in his opening scene in the book, he laid his misogynistic streak bare for the world to see, acknowledging that he saw marriage, first and foremost, as a cheap and convenient path to regular sex. All in all, despite his service to the Nancarrows, I found myself liking this version of Dave Polworth less than I did the guy who made several icy dives in search of Liz Tassel’s typewriter. 

But, there’s another “old mate” of Strike’s who goes down several notches for me in Troubled Blood: his London schoolmate and man of the always-free-spare-room, Nick Herbert.  I’ll tell you why after the jump. 

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Hidden (and obvious) Treasures on the Robert Galbraith Website

One of the great benefits of the sales numbers of the Strike novels, including Troubled Blood, is that there are some nice resources available for both casual fans and serious readers. And one of the wonderful aspects of the “old days” of Harry Potter excitement was the delightful Rowling website where we discovered her inspiration sketches and outtakes by watering virtual plants or making calls on a The Cuckoo's Calling readalongvirtual flip phone and where forthcoming books titles were revealed in Christmas decorations. While the “grown-up” Robert Galbraith website does not have quite as many (literal) bells and whistles (really, I tried my best to make those R and G type pieces spin or turn into something else), it does have some nice little tidbits that are both fun and useful for our serious reading adventures. If you have not already, you can sign up for the newsletter here as well. Join me after the jump for a review of some of the site features as well as a few wishes for forthcoming offerings at the online home of our Denmark heroes and their pseudonym-wielding creator.

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Spenser and Strike Part Seven: Changes for the Better

Troubled Blood - StrikeFans.comLong overdue, but here, at last, is the seventh installment in our series on Edmund Spenser’s Strike influence. As we The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spensersuspected from the first preview peeks at the Table of Contents for Troubled Blood, The Faerie Queene’s influence for this installment of the Denmark Street mysteries goes far beyond catchy little opening quotations to get the reader’s attention at the beginnings of sections and chapters. Rowling-Galbraith has skillfully woven in connections with Edmund Spenser’s grand epic poem, and delightfully mirrors the structure of the poem with the structure of the novel. As we’ve now reached the end, that brings us to Part Seven of Troubled Blood and the (sadly) incomplete Book VII of The Faerie Queene, so join me after the jump for seven thoughts about the great connections between these short ending pieces of really long texts!

The posts in this series in sequence can be found at these embedded links:

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Spenser and Strike—Part Six: Courtesy and Conclusions

As we embark on the next-to-last part of Troubled Blood, let’s take a closer look at some of the wonderful Spenserian elements woven throughout chapters 60-71. I know you speedy readers who beat me to the end of the novel may not have been stopping to admire the literary scenery along the way as we raced to our thrilling conclusion and the final unmasking of guilty parties. I’ll require a few more reads myself to catch the majority of our clever author’s well-woven threads taken from Edmund Spenser’s loom, and I doubt anyone could catch them all, but I hope I’ll give you plenty to think about as we admire the artistry of the novel as well as its source. This installment will take us right up to the end of Part Six, so if you haven’t gotten there yet, no peeking! All the spoilers are after the jump, so come along with me to continue our exploration into how The Faerie Queene and Troubled Blood are as intertwined as the trees in one of Spenser’s forests.

This sixth section of Troubled Blood is action-packed, like most of the knights’ adventures in The Faerie Queene, but let’s take a look at six powerful connections between the Detectives of Denmark Street and the Knights of Gloriana, the Faerie Queene.

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Part V of Spenser and Strike: The Knight of Justice Comes up Swinging with Britomart Triumphant

Moorthi Sukumar : Faerie Queene - Edmund SpenserAs we head around the bend toward the back of the novel and the back of the year, the closing of the mystery and of the timespan that is clearly our stage, it’s time to take a peek at some of the best Faerie Queene  cues in Part Five. If you haven’t caught up to our thoughts on Troubled Blood so far, there is time, so check out our Hogwarts Professor takes on a wide variety of angles for this novel so far. I’m having a grand time keeping the Spenser score running, looking at ways in which our intrepid detectives are mirroring elements of The Faerie Queene, and I hope you’re having as much fun as we are! Follow me after the jump for five Faerie Queene  take-aways from Part Five! Remember, spoilers galore, so stop here if you need to get past chapter 59! [Read more…]