Nov 20, 2023·edited Nov 20, 2023Author

As soon as I sent this and started the (C) or third part of this post, I had several parallels come to mind. I won't be revisiting this White-Grave subject in a separate post anytime soon so I'll post them here in the comment boxes and continue to put more here as they surface.

Feel free to join in or add your objections. I haven't checked with anything like deliberate review to see if the correspondences I've noted between Strikes 4 and 7 don't also occur in other books; if they exist, that undermines the 4-7 relationship's validity in not being exclusive. Are there 'third eyes' in the other five books? I don't know!

Here are three correspondences I missed in the first review --

(1) Failed Pregnancy Trap: the foundation crime of 'Lethal White' is the pregnancy trap that Ornella Seraphin sprung on Jasper Chiswell. A baby resulted but no marriage, which, as with the Leda Strike-Jonny Rokeby trap, meant that it was, as Raff put it, a "gamble that didn't work out." That's a great 1-4 link, but Bijou's effort to win (force?) a QC's hand via pregnancy so far is taking the Chiswell route, i.e., blowing up Hunbold's marriage but not yet gaining her a ring (she needs to take a few lessons from Sarah Shadlock). Of course, if it's Strike's baby -- and I think it is -- then she's in for even more of a hard time.

(2) One Night Stand 'Displacement Fucks:' Speaking of Belinda Watkins, Esq., she is part of another 1-4-7 trio, joining Ciarra Porter, whom Strike lands in 'Cuckoo' to assuage his grief and anger about Charlotte's engagement, and Coco the Red Head-Hot Mama in 'White,' whom Strike scores to get over Robin's decision to go on her honeymoon.

(3) Sacraments: I confess to slapping my forehead in neglecting to note that the books each begin with a Christian ceremony and sacrament, 'White' with a wedding and 'Grave' with a baptism. Robin and Strike are the center of attention in both -- and Strike walks away from each with no little frustration about not being his business partner's conjugal mate. The 1-4-7 piece would be the funerals of 'Cuckoo' for Lula Landry and Rochelle Onifade, making the sequence work in reverse; Christians normally head through life beginning with child baptism, a wedding as adults, and a burial with rites after death.

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I'm really fascinated by the idea of the foundation crime. If the HP series foundation crime is Merope Gaunt's coercive love with a love potion which gives rise to Lord Voldemort, a villain who sought immortality by killing others, then shouldn't the foundation crime in the Strike series also give rise to a villain who undoubtedly learned how to manipulate others from a family of corrupt and ancient nobility not unlike the Gaunts? My money's on Charlotte as the Voldemort of the Strike series because of her tactics, and I wonder if Sir Anthony had some way of coercing Charlotte's mother into marrying him...

Also in reading about the Campbells, I found 2 interesting women. Muriel Caddel was kidnapped by the Campbells, and at the age of 12 (!) married Sir John Campbell. Later their grandson (another John Campbell) sold Croy (!) which enabled him to purchase the island of Islay. Port Charlotte of Islay was named after Lady Charlotte Campbell who kept a diary (!) when she was lady in waiting to Caroline, Princess of Wales. In addition to the diary, she wrote several publications, among them The Manoeuvoring Mother and The Wilfulness of Woman. The crime against Muriel and her marriage at 12 years is actual history, not an aspect of writing a very complicated and engaging story. But it makes me wonder about Sir Anthony and if, as you hint at, Charlotte's suicide was staged by her half brother Sacha, what will the Strike and Ellacott Agency be asked to do next? Who will reach out? Amelia?

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As usual, there is so much here deserving of comment! Discovering all these parallels is, of course, a ton of fun. Even more fun is using the iterations as indications of the meaning behind the plot and as bases for predictions. I can't wait to see whether Legard might have something to do with the death of his sister. I'm especially grateful for your identification of the many ways in which Lethal White references the importance of truth and free will. A few thoughts: The Strike and Ellacott Files Podcast recently commented that Will/Billy both have an angry older brother named James. Another "Broken Conversation" parallel could be the all-important note that Flick steels and hides inside a tampon wrapper. Both Kevin's bar convo and Jimmy's note contain the ultimate clue, but they are incomplete -- really impossible to decipher. Another "Jewelry Under the Bed" parallel could be the earring that Sarah leaves in Robin's bed - in both instances, someone has planted a "lost" piece of personal jewelry in Robin's bed as a means of destroying her security in her sustaining relationships. In LW, Robin finds the earring which ends her last shred of belief in the cult of Matthew. In TRG, Robin finds the necklace and prolongs her pretend-membership in the cult.

Strike also has a "three ambitions checklist" in Troubled Blood - He comments to Robin something along the lines of "If only I could talk to Steve Douthwaite, I'd be done. And Gloria Conti, the last person to see Margo alive. And Creed."

Ultimately, I think the most significant point is that Will/Billy's search for truth is central to both cases. I suggest that this connection emphasizes the importance of Strike and Robin's personal growth being associated with a search for truth in their relationships, and the value of them both understanding the truth about themselves and their own pasts.

I also think Strike himself is also compared to Will/Billy when Robin points out that Strike joined the cult of Charlotte Campbell at the same age as Will was when he joined the UHC. Additionally, Abigail and Raff are compared to Billy and Strike by the comments on their rough and dreadful childhoods, and, I think Josh is another character with one absent and one ineffectual parent, who searches for connection at around age 20. In contrast with Will who joins an all-controlling cult, and Strike who joins the hyper-structured army, Josh joins a commune where social structure obligation is rejected in favor of "free expression." I wonder if other readers see similar characters in other books? To me, these characters emphasize the fact that Rowling is exploring the tension between freedom and responsibility -- both to ourselves, and to others, particularly those we love.

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Great points, Kathleen.

Furniture jewellery also made me think of the earring, and you're spot on with how that compares and contrasts with the MOTHER OF PEARL fish. Which Robin eventually breaks when she captures Mazu.

I also like the connection between the commune and Strike's military service. Strike doesn't realise that he has a particular understanding for those who submit themselves, as an escape form loss and pain in the outside world, to a strict regime where your freedom and individuality is taken away, but which ultimately leaves you maimed and traumatised.

I felt a connection between Billy Knight and Kevin Pirbright. I've not re-read Lethal White to firm it up, but they're both desperate young men who are onto a conspiracy.

I also felt lots of echoes and reflections between the Edensors, Graveses, Chiswells and Bristows.

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Another connection between the army and Aylmerton which I'm sure may have come up in looking at the significance of characters' names; the Pirbrights. Pirbright is a village in Surrey which is the location of an Army camp and training centre, which also utilises the surrounding heathland for exercises.

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