Mysticism, clairvoyance, the supernatural and a decades' old cold case - JK Rowling chats to crime novelist Mark Billingham about her latest Cormoran Strike novel, the fifth in the series which she writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. She also answers the question that many fans are wondering: will the private detective and his assistant, Robin Ellacott, finally hook up?
Why she decided to have Strike and Robin tackling a cold case.
In the Galbraith books I try and do a very different kind of plot each time and I've been planning a cold case for a while. The themes in the book of loss and distance and separation just felt . . . it felt right. A female doctor left her practice at the end of the working day and was literally never seen again. So what happened to her on this short walk? What should have been a five minute walk to the pub to meet a friend.
On why she also included subjects such as mysticism, clairvoyance and the supernatural.
I'm very interested in the function superstition fulfils for human beings and this was a way of exploring how when we don't know, we tend to fill the space with our own theories, hopes. The investigating officer has a breakdown and he believes he can solve the case through occult means, which is one of the reasons it's never been solved because he left such a mess behind him. I can't give too much away but he, yes, he looks at tarot cards and he looks at astrology and Strike and Robin inherit a very strange set of notes.
Why feminism is one of the major themes of the book.
One of the major themes in the book is it's an exploration of the changing nature of feminism. Because The doctor who disappeared was an ardent feminist and different takes on femininity and what is expected from women. Robin turns 30 and she's starting to face the question: Will I ever have children? People around her are starting to have babies, and she faces certain challenges as a woman in this book. She's the youngest person at the agency but is left in charge of it for a while and she's managing men who are older than her and possibly don't think she should be in charge of the group meetings. So all of that I explore and then the question is who killed this doctor?
Click below to see the video of JK Rowling speaking about her new book.