Troubled Blood


Private Detective Cormoran Strike is visiting his family in Cornwall when he is approached by a woman asking for help finding her mother, Margot Bamborough – who went missing in mysterious circumstances in 1974.

Strike has never tackled a cold case before, let alone one forty years old. But despite the slim chance of success, he is intrigued and takes it on; adding to the long list of cases that he and his partner in the agency, Robin Ellacott, are currently working on. And Robin herself is also juggling a messy divorce and unwanted male attention, as well as battling her own feelings about Strike.

As Strike and Robin investigate Margot’s disappearance, they come up against a fiendishly complex case with leads that include tarot cards, a psychopathic serial killer and witnesses who cannot all be trusted. And they learn that even cases decades old can prove to be deadly . . .

General Information and Release

Shortly after the release of the fourth Strike novel, Lethal White, J.K. Rowling announced she was already working on the fifth novel in the series.

Whilst writing the novel, Rowling revealed to us on Twitter that Strike’s half-brother Al Rokeby will make an appearance in the fifth novel. On 23rd November 2018 (Cormoran Strike’s birthday), she also tweeted that she was writing about the morning of Robin Ellacott’s 29th birthday.

Rowling also updated her twitter header photos in relation to the novel’s storyline. One header was a photo of three Thoth tarot cards: Death, Ace of Swords and Two of Cups. Another header photo was that of an astrological chart by Aleister Crowley.

Thoth tarot cards
Astrological chart

In January 2020, Rowling revealed on Twitter than she had finished writing the novel, and on 20th February 2020, the title was announced to be Troubled Blood, with a release date set for 29th September 2020. The publication date was later changed to 15th September 2020.

The first edition hardcover is 944 pages long, making it the longest Strike novel so far.

The finished manuscript.

In January 2020, Marilyn Manson posted on Twitter thanking J.K. Rowling for the flowers she had sent him, leaving fans wondering whether his music will be incorporated into the fifth Strike novel, similar to what she did with Blue Oyster Cult in Career of Evil. This might still be the case, however, the title Troubled Blood seems to have no relation to any of Manson’s songs.

Photo from Marilyn Manson’s twitter

The Book’s Cover

In early July 2020, Robert Galbraith started posting teasers online, involving photos of the Hampton Court Palace astrological clock.

On 9th July 2020, the official cover for Troubled Blood was revealed.

Photographer Stephen Mulcahey posted on Instagram that he was commissioned by Duncan Spilling, art director for Little, Brown, to shoot the two main figures on the cover. The models on the cover are Eleanor Duckworth and Richard Wicks.

Below is a fan-made cover of Troubled Blood by Potter Cave in the original style of the first three Strike books.

By Potter Cave

Read about the first novel The Cuckoo’s Calling

Read about the second novel The Silkworm

Read about the third novel Career of Evil

Read about the fourth novel Lethal White