Troubled Blood Compilation #5: Flints, Errors and Head-scratchers. Spoiler Alert

When J.K. Rowling kept Marcus Flint around for an 8th year in Hogwarts, the term “flint” was adopted as a word for an error or continuity mistake in the Harry Potter series.  Some, such as James and Lily emerging from Voldy’s Wand in the wrong order, were even corrected in later editions.

The Cormoran Strike series, sadly, is not immune from this tendency. We have, for instance, heard Strike muse about having both eight and seven half-siblings. Ciara Porter of Cuckoo’s Calling mysteriously changed her surname to Parker by Lethal White.  And so on…  

I’m starting this post for readers to make note of any errors they spot when reading and re-reading Troubled Blood.  I’ll start my list after the jump; please be aware there could be spoilers there or in the comments section.

The first one I noted was an apparent disparity in Lucy and Cormoran’s relative ages.  Part one mentions 4 1/2 year old “Cormy*” and “newborn” Lucy being abandoned with Ted and Joan for the first time.  “Newborn” to me, implies a very young baby– a few months old at the most.  Previously, Lucy and Cormoran have been said to be only 2 years apart in age.  British readers:  is it common to refer to a two year old as a “newborn” in the UK?

Here is another head-scratcher:

Breaking into a jog, because she was already five minutes late, she knew she’d just told Strike, for the very first time, that she knew who his father was.

Huh?  Strike saw the Rokeby Wikipedia page open on her computer back when she first started working for him. He heard her say his father’s name at the end of that book:

“Well, that’s very kind of Mr. Rokeby, but Mr. Strike would rather pay. He’s hopeful he’ll be able to clear the full amount within the next few months…”

And, Robin met his brother Al in The Silkworm; surely she learned his last name after he was first on the scene in her potentially deadly car crash?  

In addition, Robin would have learned all about Leda Strike when Whittaker was one of their key murder suspects, and her having Rokeby’s child was front and center of any story about her.  Anyone remember this conversation in Career of Evil?

“Her favorite wasn’t the Deadbeats?” asked Robin, without thinking. Strike’s father was the lead singer of the Deadbeats. They had never discussed him, either. “No,” said Strike, managing a half-smile. “Old Jonny came a poor second with Leda. She wanted Eric Bloom, lead singer of Blue Öyster Cult, but she never got him. One of the very few who got away.”

Does that sound like a guy who thinks his parentage is a secret?

Moreover, Strike’s paternity had been mentioned in the many troublesome newspaper articles that have plagued the agency over the last three years. Is Cormoran supposed to assume that Robin, internet sleuth extraordinaire, has never read any of them, nor heard about Rokeby’s press statement implying he and Strike had a cordial relationship?  Robin herself even showed Strike one of those articles on her cell phone at the end of Lethal White: 

“Were detective services under discussion during the intense heart-to-heart, or something more personal? The colourful Mr Strike, illegitimate son of rock star Jonny Rokeby, war hero and modern-day Sherlock Holmes, also happens to be Campbell’s ex-lover.”

Robin may be considerate enough not to make the Deadbeat Dad a common topic of conversation, but both of them would certainly be aware that she knew. 

One “flint” that JKR/RG may be trying to correct is her knowledge of DNA tests. She explicitly has Dr. Gupta state that DNA tests weren’t around in the 1970’s, but that blood tests could produce some identifying information. She conveniently states that there were witnesses to CBS’s possible conception at a New York party.  And, Strike’s thought bubbles are now reading “paternity test” rather than “DNA test.” (Sidebar: Dear Mr. Galbraith, If my previous post was any help in this regard, please send me a sign. Just give a few minor characters the name “Louise” or something…)

Please use the comments section, so we can compile a master list.

*Anyone notice that Leda called her son “Cormy?”  He told us in The Silkworm that he hates that particular nickname, and so does Robin when she hears Coco say it in Lethal White.  Perhaps another clue to his mommy issues.

Comments

  1. Louise Freeman says

    Yes, Elisa, I think you are right here. To echo John’s comment, when Janice says something factually wrong, I think we should assume she is lying, rather than an authorial error.

  2. Excellent yes that makes sense. It is interesting to note that during their first interview, Strike asks Irene why she fought with Margot, and Irene does not deny that she did fight, but offers a bogus reason instead. Irene being innocent of Margot’s murder would not have a reason to lie about that particular point, so a better answer would have been “I didn’t have a bust up with Margot, but Janice did!”. So why did she go along with the premise that *she* had fought with Margot? Is it a) an author error, b) has she forgot/become confused about who did what over the passing years, or c) is she intentionally covering up for her friend/taking the spotlight off her either to save her embarrassment or because she wants the spotlight for herself? I think b) and c) are equally possible. I think perhaps a) is also possible in that JKR could easily have allowed Janice to admit to having a row about Kevin’s tummy without it looking too fishy (so Strike would suspect her of lying, but she’d hardly be the only suspect at that point).

  3. I thought about something else.

    So Gloria gets engaged to Luca, and then manages to run away from under his nose to make a new life abroad. Good on her and all. However, in the book, the Ricci family, and Luca in particular, are described as horribly vindictive, they go for “your family, your friends, even your pets” if you offend them etc. Is it realistic that Luca would take so kindly to being dumped that he would not exact revenge on Gloria’s poor, left behind grandparents? Is it realistic that Gloria would not worry about this in the slightest? That he would just shrug it off (after he’s bought the girl a diamond and all!) and consider it not worth making a fuss about seems, well, more reasonable and level headed than we have been led to believe this character is. I wonder.

  4. Beth Delalane says

    An Error in Chapter 67 – first called a bag of mixed nuts then a bag of almonds – they’re not the same thing! Page 834 – Robin “… taking a bag of mixed nuts unenthusiastically out of her bag …”. Page 838 – “… she set aside her bag of almonds …”
    Granted this is a minor example but I’m actually quite surprised at the number of errors and inconsistencies in this book.

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