Robert Galbraith: Lethal White

Lethal White, the fourth installment in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling), is a sophisticated and multilayered crime thriller that delves into the world of political intrigue, corruption, and the complexities of human relationships. Following private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott, the novel combines a gripping murder mystery with an exploration of the personal and professional challenges faced by its protagonists.


number of pages: 656
literary movement: CONTEMPORARY
literary genre: CRIME, DETECTIVE
1st edition: 2018


The story begins when a troubled young man named Billy Knight approaches Strike, claiming to have witnessed a murder as a child. Despite Billy’s erratic behavior and lack of concrete evidence, Strike is intrigued by the case and begins to investigate. Simultaneously, Strike and Robin are hired by Jasper Chiswell, a prominent and manipulative Member of Parliament, to gather dirt on two of his political enemies.

As the two investigations unfold, Strike and Robin soon discover that the cases are more closely connected than they initially realized. The search for the truth leads them through the corridors of power in London’s political circles, the luxurious homes of the city’s elite, and the gritty streets of its most deprived neighborhoods. As they navigate this treacherous terrain, the detectives are forced to confront the darker aspects of human nature and the consequences of unchecked ambition.

Lethal White also delves deeper into the personal lives of its protagonists. Strike struggles with the legacy of his past and the challenges of managing his growing business, while Robin grapples with her crumbling marriage and her dedication to her work. The novel further develops the complex and evolving relationship between Strike and Robin, as they navigate their professional partnership and their growing mutual attraction.

The novel is notable for its intricate and suspenseful plot, which keeps the reader guessing until the very end. Galbraith (Rowling) expertly weaves together multiple narrative threads, creating a rich and compelling tapestry of intrigue, betrayal, and secrets. The story is also marked by its atmospheric and vivid depiction of London, immersing the reader in the diverse and often contradictory worlds that coexist within the city.


1st book – Lethal White
2nd book – Troubled Blood


Cormoran Strike

A war veteran turned private detective, Cormoran Strike is a tenacious investigator with a sharp mind and a strong sense of justice. He’s often grappling with the challenges of managing a growing detective agency while navigating his complicated personal life.

Robin Ellacott

Strike’s capable and resourceful assistant-turned-business partner, Robin is a key figure in the investigations. Despite her struggles with her personal life, including her troubled marriage, she remains dedicated to her work and committed to solving cases alongside Strike.

Billy Knight

A mentally unstable young man who approaches Strike with a story about witnessing a murder as a child. His seemingly incoherent claims become the catalyst for the entire investigation in Lethal White.

Jasper Chiswell

A government minister who hires Strike to investigate the blackmail he’s facing from two individuals. His involvement in the case becomes more complex as Strike and Robin uncover hidden secrets and motives.

Raff Chiswell

Jasper Chiswell’s arrogant and entitled son, who is one of the suspects in the blackmail case. His tumultuous relationship with his family adds further complications to the investigation.

Izzy Chiswell

Jasper’s daughter, who acts as his personal assistant and is involved in the family’s political and social affairs. She plays a significant role in navigating the various relationships and motives surrounding the case.

Jimmy Knight

Billy’s older brother and a left-wing political activist. He becomes entangled in the case as Strike and Robin investigate the connections between the Chiswell family and the blackmailers.

Flick Purdue

Jimmy Knight’s girlfriend and fellow political activist. Her involvement in the case complicates the investigation and adds to the web of relationships and motives.

Aamir Malik

One of the blackmailers targeting Jasper Chiswell. His connection to the case becomes more complex as Strike and Robin delve deeper into the investigation.

Geraint Winn

The husband of a Member of Parliament and the second blackmailer targeting Jasper Chiswell. His political connections and personal motives add to the intrigue of the case.

These main characters are crucial to the development of the story in Lethal White, as their relationships, motives, and secrets all contribute to the intricate and suspenseful mystery that Strike and Robin are determined to solve.

Pretending you’re OK when you aren’t isn’t strength.



  • Intricate Mystery Plot: Lethal White presents an elaborate and captivating mystery, as Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott investigate a complex case involving political corruption, blackmail, and murder.
  • Billy Knight’s Appearance: The book begins with the sudden appearance of Billy Knight, a troubled young man claiming to have witnessed a murder when he was a child, which sets the stage for the entire investigation.
  • London Backdrop: The story is set against the backdrop of the 2012 London Olympics, adding a sense of urgency and excitement to the unfolding mystery.
  • Jasper Chiswell’s Blackmail: The plot thickens when Strike and Robin are hired by Jasper Chiswell, a government minister, to investigate the blackmail he’s facing from two individuals, leading them to uncover hidden secrets and motives.
  • Strike and Robin’s Partnership: The professional relationship between Strike and Robin grows stronger in Lethal White, as they become more trusting and reliant on each other’s skills and instincts.
  • Robin’s Personal Struggles: Robin’s tumultuous marriage to Matthew and her traumatic past play a significant role in the novel, as she grapples with her emotions and the direction of her life.
  • Character Development: Lethal White delves deeper into the personal lives of both Strike and Robin, offering readers more insight into their backgrounds, relationships, and motivations.
  • Social and Political Themes: The novel explores various social and political issues, such as class differences, political corruption, and mental health stigma.
  • Suspenseful Storytelling: The narrative is filled with twists and turns, keeping readers engaged and eager to uncover the truth behind the complex case.
  • Pivotal Installment: As the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series, Lethal White serves as a pivotal installment in the story, as it marks a turning point for both the professional and personal lives of the main characters, setting the stage for future novels in the series.

In conclusion, Lethal White is a captivating and thought-provoking crime thriller that expertly combines an engaging murder mystery with a nuanced exploration of the personal and professional challenges faced by its protagonists. With its intricate plot, well-drawn characters, and evocative portrayal of London, the novel solidifies Robert Galbraith’s position as a master of the detective genre and leaves readers eagerly anticipating the next installment in the Cormoran Strike series.


The television series C.B. Strike (known as Strike in the UK) is a British crime drama based on the bestselling Cormoran Strike detective novels by J.K. Rowling, who writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The show first premiered on BBC One in August 2017 and later became available on Cinemax in the United States. The series has received critical acclaim for its faithful adaptations of the novels and strong performances by the lead actors.

Tom Burke stars as the titular character, Cormoran Strike, a war veteran turned private detective who uses his unique insight and background to solve complex cases that have eluded the police. Holliday Grainger plays Robin Ellacott, Strike’s capable and determined assistant, who eventually becomes his business partner. The chemistry between the two leads is a highlight of the series, as their professional relationship deepens and evolves over time.

Each season of the show adapts one of the novels in the series, with the first season covering The Cuckoo’s Calling, the second season adapting The Silkworm, the third season focusing on Career of Evil, and the fourth season based on Lethal White. The series is known for its well-crafted narratives, intricate mysteries, and engaging character development.

C.B. Strike has successfully captured the essence of the novels while translating them to the screen, making it a hit among both fans of the books and newcomers to the world of Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott. With more novels planned in the series, there is potential for the television adaptation to continue and further explore the intriguing partnership between Strike and Ellacott.

Lethal White (2017)



After the tremendous success of the Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling continued to pursue her literary career with various projects. She has written crime novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, with the Cormoran Strike series being well-received by readers and critics alike.


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