The quotation from the Times excerpt in 'Running Grave' about Charlotte's arrest is jumbled and combined with another article quoted later in the book. They should read:

Dormer’s Mayfair neighbours called police in the early hours of June 14th, concerned about the noises coming from the residence. One, who asked not to be named, told The Times,

‘We heard screams, shouting and breaking glass. We were really concerned, so we called 999. We weren’t sure what was going on. We thought it might have been a break-in.’

The later piece reports:

Rumours of an imminent engagement to billionaire Dormer have circulated in gossip columns for months, but a source close to the hotelier told The Times, ‘Landon wasn’t intending to marry her even before this happened, but after this, believe me, they’ll be finished. He isn’t a man who likes drama or tantrums.’

Ross’s sister, interior decorator Amelia Crichton, 42, told The Times,

‘This is now a legal matter, so I’m afraid I can’t say any more than that I’m confident that if this comes to court Charlotte will be fully exonerated.’

These are important conversations to get right because they speak to the remarkable violence of the Campbell-Dormer battle -- you don't hear things in Mayfair as a rule that happen behind reinforced doors and triple paned windows -- as well as Dormer's stooges willingness to turn the truth on its head. Does any man without a taste for "drama or tantrums" spend months with Charlotte Campbell?

And perhaps the most interesting and telling detail is that Amelia Crichton speaks for the Campbell clan and claims to know the real truth of what happened, something that would "completely exonerate" her sister. Perhaps she lies reflexively and credibly like Charlotte -- or maybe she does know something about the billionaire's behavior so that her comment to the press serves to put him on notice.

A significant loose thread or dropped stitch for Robin and Cormoran to explore in Strike8? I think so.

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Nick Jeffery

Brilliant! So charlotte is the snape of the series - tragic (unrequited) love and lots of black hair

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The more I read about Charlotte Campbell, the more I feel that the story of Princess Charlotte of Wales (1796-1817) was a source of this character.

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As usual, John, a very compelling argument. The entire discussion leaves me wondering: at what point does the expectation of misdirection itself become misdirection? In other words, having groomed us to expect the unexpected while simultaneously dropping breadcrumbs that seem to lead in an obvious direction, how could Rowling stage the most defamiliarizing outcome to the Charlotte Campbell tragedy? That she was murdered, following a pattern telegraphed by a host of earlier apparent, but ultimately fake, suicides? Or that she behaved exactly as some severely personality-disordered people do—killing herself and leaving Strike to carry life-long guilt about what he might have done to save her?

While my money is on the latter, I’m pretty lukewarm about it. This is one reason Rowling can be so confounding. Is she signaling something that ultimately will be proven true—such as the long climb to the inevitable breakup of Robin and Matt? Or is this another red herring, a la Dennis Creed or Strike and Robin heading off to the Ritz?

Complicating matters, Rowling lately seems to enjoy employing good old-fashioned serial cliff-hangers. At the end of TB, lots of folks speculated that Strike and Robin would finally get it on, only to be wrenched 180 degrees in the opening chapter of the following book. In the final pages of IBH, we’re left wondering where Robin’s date with Murphy will lead. In TRG, we’re meant to question who really impregnated Bijou Watkins.

Always with Rowling we have to ask: is this foreshadowing or misdirection? Impossible to say since she employs both. Looking forward to your evidence that Robin is sterile. As for me, I’ll stay out on my limb that Robin—fresh off 16 weeks without birth control—is pregnant with Murphy’s child. Why? If for no other reason then it would be defamiliarizing misdirection.

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