Blue Öyster Cult Songs in Career of Evil

Blue Öyster Cult is an American rock band which formed in 1967 and was active throughout the 1970s. At the beginning of every chapter of Career of Evil, there is a line or two of lyrics from a Blue Öyster Cult song. We find out that Blue Öyster Cult was Leda Strike’s favourite band (‘Well, “favourite” is an understatement. Obsession, really.’). She even named her son Cormoran Blue Strike after them.

Here’s a link to our Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/strikefans/playlist/38DQcV4uoPwPDq2nXFxdgb. Unfortunately, not all of the songs can be found on Spotify. Below is a full list of all the Blue Öyster Cult songs mentioned in Robert Galbraith’s Career of Evil with a short synopsis for each chapter. You can see how the song links to what happens in the story…

Career of Evil (Lyrics by Patti Smith), I choose to steal what you choose to show, And you know I will not apologise – You’re mine for the taking. I’m making a career of evil… 

(Leda Strike’s favourite song:) Mistress of the Salmon Salt

Leda Strike had the title ‘Mistress of the Salmon Salt’ tattooed above her pubic hair.

(Chapter 1) This Ain’t the Summer of Love 

In this opening chapter, we are reading from the killer’s point-of-view. The killer stalks Robin as she makes her way to a rugby match (Saracens vs Spurs) with her fiancé Matthew. 

(Chapter 2) Madness to the Method, A rock through a window never comes with a kiss…

Robin arrives at work and a severed leg is delivered to the office in a box addressed to her.

(Chapter 3) The Marshall Plan, Half-a-hero in a half-hearted game…

Detective Inspector Eric Wardle and Detective Sergeant Ekwensi inspect the leg in the office, while Robin waits in Strike’s office upstairs. Strike tells Wardle who he thinks might have sent the leg.

(Chapter 4) Astronomy, Four winds at the Four Winds Bar, Two doors locked and windows barred, One door left to take you in, The other on just mirrors it…

Strike and Robin head to The Tottenham pub. Strike reluctantly tells Robin about his three suspects.

(Chapter 5) The Revenge of Vera Gemini (Lyrics by Patti Smith), Hell’s built on regret…

Strike tries to search for the three suspects on the internet. He worries the leg was Brittany Brockbank’s, “Because if it was her, it was his fault.”

(Chapter 6) Flaming Telepaths, Is it any wonder than my mind’s on fire?

When Robin arrives back in Ealing, she takes a trip to Waitrose and calls Strike in one of the wine aisles. When she gets home she searches the three suspects on Google.

(Chapter 7) Good to Feel Hungry

Another chapter in the point-of-view of the killer.

(Chapter 8) Lonely Teardrops, I seem to see a rose, I reach out, then it goes…

After tailing Mad Dad, Strike meets Robin in The Court pub on Tottenham Court Road, where she is doing surveillance on Platinum, who was at work in Spearmint Rhino opposite.

(Chapter 9) One Step Ahead of the Devil

Another chapter in the point-of-view of the killer. The killer sees Strike, and Strike sees him. “…he broke into a flat-out run.”

(Chapter 10) Shadow of California, With no love, from the past…

Strike goes to Whitechapel en route to Nick and Ilsa’s and takes a walk down memory lane, passing through Fulbourne Street, where he used to live with his mother and Jeff Whittaker, and along Whitechapel Road. “Fuck, fuck, fuck…”

(Chapter 11) This Ain’t the Summer of Love, Feeling easy on the outside, but not so funny on the inside.

Strike is staying at Nick and Ilsa’s house. He talks to his friend from the SIB, Graham Hardacre, and arranges to go to Edinburgh to get information on two of the suspects. 

(see Chapter 1)

(Chapter 12) OD’d on Life Itself, …the writings done in blood.

Strike meets Eric Wardle in the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch to discuss the case.

(Chapter 13) In the Presence of Another World

Robin and Linda go to Harrogate to get the wedding dress refitted, then go to Betty’s for a bite to eat and a chat. Back in Masham, Robin goes to her room whilst the family watch the Grand National. She uses her laptop to search BIID and Acrotomophilia which, unfortunately, Matthew sees. “A paraphilia in which sexual gratification is derived from fantasies or acts involving an amputee.”

(Chapter 14) Showtime, …you ain’t seen the last of me yet, I’ll find you, baby, on that you can bet.

(Chapter 15) Power Underneath Despair, Where’s the man with the golden tattoo?

(Chapter 16) Before the Kiss, So grab your rose and ringside seat, we’re back home at Conry’s bar.

(Chapter 18) Lips in the Hills, I’ve been stripped, the insulation’s gone.

(Chapter 19) Workshop of the Telescopes

(Chapter 20) Debbie Denise (Lyrics by Patti Smith), I never realised she was so undone.

(Chapter 21) Live for Me, The damn call came, And I knew what I knew, and didn’t want to know.

(Chapter 22) I Just Like to be Bad, I don’t give up but I ain’t a stalker, I guess I’m just an easy talker.

(Chapter 23) Make Rock Not War, Moments of pleasure, in a world of pain.

(Chapter 24) Hammer Back, Step into a world of strangers, Into a sea of unknowns…

(Chapter 25) Madness to the Method, There’s a time for discussion, and a time for a fight.

(See Chapter 2)

(Chapter 26) Death Valley Nights, Desolate landscape, storybook bliss…

(Chapter 27) In the Presence of Another World, A dreadful knowledge comes…

(See Chapter 13)

(Chapter 28) Debbie Denise, …oh Debbie Denise was true to me, She’s wait by the window, so patiently.

(See Chapter 20)

(Chapter 31) Tenderloin, Nighttime flowers, evening roses, Bless this garden that never closes.

(Chapter 32) After Dark, What’s that in the corner? It’s too dark to see.

(Chapter 33) (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, The door was open and the wind appeared…

(Chapter 34) The Vigil, The lies don’t count, the whispers do.

(Chapter 35) Dominance and Submission

(Chapter 36) Black Blade, I have this feeling that my luck is not too good.

(Chapter 38) Dance on Stilts 

(Chapter 39) Out of the Darkness, The door opens both ways…

(Chapter 40) Searchin’ for Celine, …love is like a gun, and in the hands of someone like you, I think it’d kill.

(Chapter 2) Burning for You, I’m living for giving the devil his due.

(Chapter 43) Still Burnin’, Freud, have mercy on my soul.

(Chapter 44) Then Came the Last Day of May

(Chapter 45) Harvester of Eyes, Harvester of eyes, that’s me.

(Chapter 46) Subhuman

(Chapter 47) Harvest Moon, I sense the darkness clearer…

(Chapter 48) Here Comes That Feeling

(Chapter 50) Celestial the Queen, I’m out of my place, I’m out of my mind…

(Chapter 51) Don’t Turn Your Back, Don’t turn your back, don’t show your profile, You’ll never know when it’s your turn to go.

(Chapter 52) X-Ray Eyes, Do not envy the man with the x-ray eyes.

(Chapter 53) Veteran of the Psychic Wars, You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars…

(Chapter 54) Spy in the House of the Night, And if it’s true it can’t be you, It might as well be me.

(Chapter 55) (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, Came the last night of sadness, And it was clear she couldn’t go on.

(See Chapter 33)

(Chapter 56) Vengeance (The Pact), When life’s scorned and damage done, To avenge, this is the pact.

(Chapter 57) Sole Survivor, Sole survivor, cursed with second sight, Haunted saviour, cried into the night.

(Chapter 58) Deadline

(Chapter 59) Before the Kiss, With threats of gas and rose motif.

(See Chapter 16)

(Chapter 62) Before the Kiss, A redcap, a recap, before the kiss…

(See Chapter 16)