So, tomorrow I’m starting night shifts, meaning that tonight I have to stay up all night to try and reset my sleep schedule a bit in preparation. Sounds like the perfect time to attempt another episode of the Baby Silk Moth of Misogyny. I want this book over with, so I’m going to try for a longer post than usual, but it’s possible I’m going to fall asleep part way through or be reduced to complete incoherence (instead of partial, as is my wont usually) so we’ll see how this goes. For the record, each chapter usually takes about two hours to go through.
Warnings: nothing in particular. Some insensitive mentions of poverty, suicide, and alcoholism, and the usual boring misogyny.
Last time, a supposedly serious injury – that he’s been ignoring with no consequences for half the book – forced Strike to actually allow Robin to take part in the plot. Unsurprisingly, though, we stay with him for the start of the next chapter, and spend a page detailing his thrilling taxi ride to a chemist to buy a walking stick. He specifies that he’s paying for the taxi using the five hundred pounds the gangster guy gave him earlier in the book to go beat up a teenage boy, and harps on about how he’s going to give that money back so he has to be careful not to spend too much; given that the still-unnamed brunette woman advanced him ten grand to follow her soon to be ex husband at around the same time, I can’t be anything approaching sympathetic. You aren’t poor, stop fetishising it. Once he’s done whining, he finally starts thinking about what he’s meant to be doing, and the taxi takes him to Fulham Palace Road where Liz Tassel lives.
He thinks ‘a fit woman’ could make the trip to Talgarth Road in less than half an hour, which is surprisingly (given Rowling’s usual ability to judge distances) pretty accurate. Given that when we met Liz she appeared to be suffering from fairly advanced emphysema – oh, I’m sorry, ‘flu’ – I don’t think it’s relevant, though. Kathryn lives closer, according to him (according to a map of London, no she doesn’t) but Strike knows the area reasonably well and is sure Liz could have made the journey without being picked up on any cameras. Around Hammersmith, past Charing Cross Hospital, right on the river? I’m not convinced, and I don’t think Strike could possibly know where all the cameras are anyway, but I need to stop arguing with every single fail or this book’s going to take years to finish, so let’s smile and nod and pretend we’re in an alternate version of London or something.
Strike judges Liz’s house and garden as shabby (one of Rowling’s favourite words, as we know) and overgrown, but if he comes to any conclusions regarding the actual crime he doesn’t say so, instead getting back in the taxi and heading off to Jerry’s house in Kensington. He spends a while poking around, peering in the windows and down the stairs at the basement flat where Jerry’s daughter lives, noting all the many houses and flats overlooking the house and deciding Jerry can’t really have managed to sneak out without being seen, then stands around pondering how exactly you get rid of human intestines.
As a result of this expert detective work, Jerry’s wife comes out of the house looking royally pissed off and announces that she’s been watching him acting really suspiciously and just what the hell does he think he’s doing? Strike lies about a basement flat for rent and waiting for the agent, and he’s lucky there apparently is one for rent and she sends him a few houses down because seriously you are the worst detective ever. It also gives him the chance to be really nasty in his mental description of her, criticising her clothing and pointing out her bad breath (that he wasn’t close enough to smell, shut up), frown lines and grey roots. None of these things would have been mentioned when describing a male character, obviously.
He ‘hobbles‘ off towards the house she pointed out and waits until she leaves, snarking about her driving, before walking down a side street and looping around to look into their back garden. He criticises that as well – what’s with the sudden horticultural bent? – and realises that, oops, maybe some of the suspects have allotments, garages or lock-ups he doesn’t know about, and that this whole enterprise is utterly pointless.
(I don’t know if allotments exist as a thing outside the UK… basically if you don’t have a garden the council can rent you a plot of land out in the suburbs somewhere next to a lot of other plots. Stereotypically the refuge of middle-class retired men to grow vegetables and sit in sheds away from their nagging wives.)
We get another page of Strike whining that his leg hurts and he doesn’t want to walk across half of London. Don’t, then, you moron. You live and work travelling around central London, there is no reason why you wouldn’t have an Oyster card. More translation – an Oyster card is a travel pass you store credit on that works on every bus, train and Underground route in London, and there are machines to put more money on them in every station. If Strike doesn’t have one then he’s honestly too stupid to live.
Anstis phones at this point to tell him that he’s an idiot. Well spotted. It turns out that Strike going back to the crime scene, where he’d been expressly forbidden to go, and then shooting his mouth off to the police officers on duty, was a fucking stupid idea. Sadly the whole scene has a distinct flavour of the mean nasty police picking on him when he’s just trying to do his best for his poor innocent client, but it’s a start. Though it’s unfortunately followed by Anstis passing on more details about the investigation despite having just told him to keep out of it, because what is consistency? He says Owen’s blood work came back clean, just traces of alcohol, and they’re sending dog teams out to a nearby land fill – the biggest in the UK – to look for a bag of intestines because there was a skip a few streets from Talgarth Road and the builders say that’s where it’s emptied. Yeah, good luck with that.
Strike surprises me at this point by acting vaguely like a reasonable human being, and phones Leonora to recommend that she gets a lawyer; not only that but he gives her the number of a friend of his. And then actually phones said friend to let her know he’s given her number to a potential client. I know, it’s shocking. I don’t expect it to last. Leonora mentions that the police are searching the house again, and Strike tells her to let them.
More whining about the cold and his leg hurting, and a long description of him finding a nice pub to have lunch in. Remember your constant complaining about not having any money, Strike? Go home and make a fucking sandwich. This pub just happens to have some photos of minor celebrities on the walls, which just happen to include one of his father Jonny. Nope, still don’t care.
Robin phones to say she’s done all her share of the investigating, because God forbid we get to actually see her doing something productive, and when she got back to the office she found a message from Daniel Chard asking Strike to go down to Devon to see him. Er, what? Strike asks, reasonably, how the hell Chard knows he exists. Cue Robin reminding him that he’s super-famous all over the country for… finding a body, in London. Which happens every few days.
‘ “He says he’s got a proposition.”
A vivid mental image of a naked, bald man with an erect, suppurating penis flashed in Strike’s mind.’
Don’t flatter yourself, mate!
Strike decides he can totally drop everything and fuck off to Devon despite being sooooo busy and soooooo poor and asks Robin to hire him an automatic-transmission car before suggesting she come to this pub and have lunch with him. Robin says they can’t afford it – seriously, yes you can, what is Rowling’s weird obsession with this sanitised and romanticised view of ‘poverty’ when she’s one of the richest people in the world and apparently used to be genuinely poor? – and Strike says he’ll charge it to a client’s account. Classy. And illegal.
This whole thing is stupid. Chard has a broken leg, he’s not confined to a hospital bed, and the police would have insisted he travel up to London to speak to them by now. There’s also no reason he would want to speak to Strike, particularly since it would look pretty dodgy were said police to find out, and why is Strike willing to go running across the country to see a murder suspect in the middle of nowhere on short notice? Has he never seen a horror film?
He goes back to staring at his daddy’s photo, which I assume is meant to add extra angst except for the part where nobody gives a fuck, and wondering why he’s so sure Leonora’s innocent. Because you’re the protagonist and therefore have to be right about absolutely everything no matter how unlikely. Don’t overthink it.
Robin shows up, and her contribution to the investigation gets just over a page, with pauses for descriptions of what they’re eating. Chard’s town house is big and flashy and has a private courtyard full of ornamental plant pots that could be perfect hiding places for random piles of intestines – actually, that’s a fantastic idea. Kathryn’s flat has lots of hiding places – bushes, communal bins, etc. – but is very overlooked and public; but there’s a medical centre right outside that might sometimes dispose of biological waste. Probably not, if it’s a small place it would be frozen and transported to the nearest hospital to be incinerated, but I suppose it’s possible.
Surprisingly, Strike actually thinks this is a good theory, which I believe is the first time this entire book he’s said anything remotely positive about anything Robin’s come up with. Unsurprisingly, this turns out to be because it’s a better theory than Anstis’ and Anstis is a meanie-face, rather than because he thinks it’s actually a good idea.
He tells her what he saw around Liz’s and Jerry’s houses, including that Jerry’s wife was pissed that he was creeping around their house peering in the windows. For some reason Robin thinks this is a weird reaction, instead of perfectly fucking reasonable, which allows Strike to say dismissively that ‘she’s a drinker like her husband, I could smell it on her.’ Still as sensitive and well-informed as ever, Rowling. Anyway, Strike says Liz’s house is a perfect ‘murderer’s hideout‘ since it’s private and barely overlooked. I refuse to waste time on Streetview investigating this, but it’s a busy area of London so I’m going to assume he’s talking out of his arse as usual.
Strike then decides that since Anstis is a meanie-face he’s going to completely disobey everything he was told and start questioning suspects properly, and calls Roper Chard to speak to Jerry. Time for another reality check – in the real world, he’d find himself arrested for obstruction and possibly conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, because seriously, stop fucking around with a murder investigation, private investigators do not do this sort of thing you fucking idiot. Sadly I suspect he’s actually just going to get a mild scolding, which will be followed by a grovelling apology when it turns out he was right all along. Robin makes a token effort to point out that this is a very bad idea and Strike shushes her, saying that he hasn’t told her half of what’s going on. Nice.
Understandably, Jerry’s fairly confused about why Strike is calling him. I’m more confused about how Strike got past Roper Chard reception, since he’d have to say who he was and why he was calling (or failing that his stupid inexplicable ‘fame’ would ensure that the receptionist already knew) and he or she would instantly hang up and rush to tell someone to contact the legal department. Strike says vaguely that he’s interested in Owen’s book and thinks it might help the case, and asks with all the subtlety of a sack full of bricks to meet at Jerry’s house to discuss it. Understandably Jerry’s not keen on this and suggests a lunchtime meeting near the office instead, because (unlike some people) he has actual work to do. Pouting, Strike agrees and says he’ll get his ‘secretary‘ to call and confirm. I assume Robin noticed this and was pissed about it but decided to be the better person and ignore it, since she just asks vacantly, ‘He’s going to meet you?’ Yes, Robin, that’s generally what that sort of conversation means. Strike says yes and adds that he thinks that’s really suspicious and suspects often want to hang around him to see how well the investigation is going. Bit of a Catch-22 there, since presumably refusing to meet him would also be really suspicious, but whatever.
Then we have a completely unnecessary half-page of Strike hobbling dramatically across the pub to the toilets (this book is weirdly obsessed with his urinary habits) and Robin implausibly noticing and recognising the photo of his father. Even though the book specifically states they look nothing like each other and it took a DNA test to prove paternity. Not only that but the book then describes at some length that Robin can’t stop staring at the photo’s crotch since Jonny’s wearing very tight leather trousers. This is disturbing on multiple levels and also utterly irrelevant filler. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be funny, or what.
Strike comes back and tells Robin the police are searching Leonora’s entire house now. They already would have, since it’s Owen’s house too and missing-persons/murder cases do generally start with looking around the person’s house for clues, but whatever. He says he really wants to talk to Fancourt, to find out why he joined Roper Chard when Owen was there too and they hated each other, because they’d be bound to meet. I don’t think you quite understand how publishing works, Strike. I assume he went to them because they offered him more money than he was getting wherever he was before, and there’s no reason whatsoever why he and Owen would meet each other there. I wonder how Bloomsbury treat Rowling? She seems to think publishers constantly throw huge parties and invite all their contracted authors. Anyway, Strike phones Liz instead to set up another meeting that the police are going to want to ask lots of nasty questions about. Strangely enough she doesn’t want him in her house either and arranges another lunch meeting, which Strike pouts over. Again, mate, people have jobs that they actually work at, and they don’t want to give up their free time to a total stranger or let him in their house.
Robin points out that he could lose his friend over this. Strike just grunts.
‘ “Don’t you care?”
“I’ve got plenty more friends.” ‘
Charming. Also rather unlikely, based on the previous book and a half.
The chapter ends with Strike saying they should go out for a beer every lunchtime, and Robin smiling happily because she’s enjoyed herself so much, it’s almost the best day at work she’s ever had, and reminding herself never to tell her fiancé (who is currently planning his mother’s funeral) about it. Sigh.
Time for a coffee-and-Youtube break. I’m calling it now, I will not in fact manage a longer post than usual, because this book is just not fun and I can only endure it in small doses.
All right, here we go again. Next morning, and wouldn’t you know it, Strike’s knee is still agonising. I’m not even angry any more, just bored. Either he’s faking it, or he’s too fucking stupid to go to the hospital; either way I don’t care. Also, it’s snowing really hard, which I assume is going to be relevant later. (It’s also not that likely. To my eternal disappointment, Britain as a whole doesn’t get much snow, particularly in the south.)
He limps dramatically down to the office, and the phone is ringing. Two clients in quick succession tell him there’s no work for him – the guy worried about the PA he’s having an affair with says she’s sick and Strike doesn’t need to follow her around until she’s better, and Caroline Ingles says she’s going to patch things up with her husband and doesn’t need him investigated any more. (I’ve lost track of whether she or Burnett is meant to be the brunette woman, but I also don’t care.)
Robin shows up, and Strike has another rare human moment, pointing out that the snow’s very bad and suggesting she can take the day off tomorrow to make sure she gets up to Yorkshire in time for the funeral. She says no, she’s booked on the sleeper train late tomorrow night, it’ll be fine. Three guesses how that’s going to turn out. You’re a terrible person, Robin. She suggests calling some other clients for work, since two have just cancelled jobs, and Strike says no.
She asks if his knee still hurts, and he says yes but that’s not why he doesn’t want to take on more clients. Er, I don’t think anyone thought it was, but okay. Robin says she knows, he wants to concentrate on the Quine case, and somehow manages to keep a straight face; Strike thinks she’s scolding him (what for?) and insists out of nowhere that Leonora will totally pay him because Owen had life insurance. This has been brought up repeatedly, but really, Strike’s the only person who doesn’t think she’s going to pay him, nobody else has mentioned any such thing, and it’s got nothing to do with the conversation.
Robin doesn’t like his tone, but not because this is a bizarre non-sequitur; she’s just annoyed that he thinks she’s shallow and obsessed with money, even though he didn’t say or imply any such thing and even though wondering if you’re going to get your salary isn’t shallow. This whole scene is weird, they both seem to be having totally separate conversations and supplying imaginary dialogue inside their heads.
It doesn’t help that she’s once again making the tea. Though she does at least have the sense to provide some painkillers, which of course just pisses Strike off, as does her offer to book him a taxi for his meeting with Liz at lunchtime. He says the restaurant is only around the corner, and Robin (justifiably) calls him stupid. He gives in with very bad grace, but really, it was sleeting all day yesterday, and the snow is settling today which means the sleet is frozen and the snow is covering ice, this is not weather to be limping with a walking stick and also you’re a moron.
Cue long description a couple of hours later of his taxi ride to the restaurant. I’m getting very bored of this. People travelling is not interesting, particularly when most of the focus is on someone whining about a sore knee that they refuse to actually do anything about. He gets there first, and when Liz arrives he notes that she’s lost weight and looks ill.
Most of their conversation is pretty boring, so I’ll skip through.
Liz thinks Leonora needs all the help she can get, that she’s never been too bright and should be trying to play the grieving widow a bit more since that’s what people expect. The police have questioned her already, and she assumes they think Owen died shortly after she fought with him in the restaurant over not publishing the book; she went straight home from that meeting and left early the next morning to stay with one of the other writers she manages, a lady called Dorcus (I can’t tell if that’s a typo or not, I’ve never seen any other spelling but Dorcas, but it’s consistently spelled with a U throughout). She obviously has an alibi for that stay, but she lives alone so can’t prove she was at home between seeing Owen and going there, and she can’t prove that she went home after coming back from the visit either. She can’t prove that she didn’t kill Owen, but she felt like doing it.
The police asked to whom she’d shown the manuscript to aside from Jerry and Fisher – nobody. And with whom Owen discussed his manuscripts while working on them – she doesn’t know; maybe Jerry but Owen never told her anything, he was a chauvinist and refused to listen to a woman even though she’s got a first-class degree in English and he was kicked out of university and she’s not at all bitter really, and also Fancourt once told him that she was a bad writer and apparently this mattered.
As an aside, they’re at what sounds like quite an upscale Italian restaurant, yet she’s ordered soup and Strike’s somehow managed to get hold of fish and chips which I doubt would be on the menu.
Strike mentions that she told him she had to choose between Fancourt and Owen, so why Owen when she obviously can’t stand him? Liz thinks for a bit, then says slowly that at the time she thought he was ‘more sinned against than sinning‘. Strike asks if it’s got anything to do with the parody someone wrote of Fancourt’s wife Elspeth’s novel (what is with these names, nobody’s been called Elspeth for decades), and Liz says Owen wrote it, and showed it to her before sending it to the magazine that published it, adding that she thought it was funny and it made her laugh. When prompted, she does say that Elspeth’s suicide was a tragedy, but adds emotionlessly that nobody could have expected it.
‘ “Frankly anybody who’s going to kill themselves because of a bad review has no business writing a novel in the first place.” ‘
Oh fuck you, Rowling. You clearly don’t give two shits about your writing these days, but you allegedly wrote the first Harry Potter book as your own personal therapy to work through your mother’s death. You must have had some sort of emotional investment in it. Writers who actually care about their work do get very involved in it, and even friendly and constructive negative criticism can be hard to take sometimes, let alone public humiliation.
But I’m wasting my breath, it’s not as if we needed further proof that this woman has no grasp of bullying and how it affects people, nor does she understand depression despite claiming to have been affected by it.
Anyway, Fancourt was angry with Owen over it. You don’t say. Owen panicked after Elspeth killed herself and denied writing it, which Liz says was cowardly of him. No, writing it in the first place was. Fancourt asked her to drop Owen as a client, she refused, and he hasn’t spoken to her since. Strike asks if it was about money, and she says no, Owen never made even close to the money Fancourt does, but she believes in free speech, ‘up to and including upsetting people‘.
Free speech does not mean freedom to be an asshole.
Liz adds that only a few days after the suicide, Leonora gave birth to premature twins and something went wrong; the boy died and Orlando was left brain damaged. So Owen was going through his own tragedy at the time, and ‘unlike Michael, he hadn’t b-brought any of it on h-himself.’ (Stuttering meant to represent her constant coughing, I think? It didn’t feature last time we saw her.)
I fail to see how Fancourt was in any way responsible for Owen’s spiteful parody driving his wife to suicide, but Liz explains that Elspeth couldn’t write and he encouraged her just to keep her out of his hair, they didn’t get along and he only married her for status because she was the daughter of an earl and he hated being lower class.
What is with all the aristocracy in this book? Half the cast are connected to minor nobility somehow. That’s really not how it works.
Anyway, Fancourt encouraged her to write her own stuff so she’d leave him alone, then didn’t have the courage to tell her it was bad and forced his publishers to take it to keep him happy. (I don’t believe any author would have that kind of clout, personally, but who knows.) Then the parody appeared a week later.
Strike mentions that Owen’s book implied Fancourt wrote it. Liz says she knows, and she wouldn’t want to provoke Fancourt. When pressed for details she explains she met him in a tutorial group studying Jacobean revenge tragedies, and that’s the kind of thing Fancourt loves – sadism, vengeance, rape, cannibalism, poisoned skeletons dressed as women (what?)… ‘sadistic retribution’.
So what did he do when she chose Owen, Strike asks? He hasn’t spoken a word to her since, he pulled out of her agency and tried to encourage her other clients to do the same, saying she was a woman of no honour or principle. Liz says that’s not true, and another reason she chose Owen was that Fancourt had done the same thing to hundreds of other writers before. Oh, well, that’s okay then.
Strike points out that she’d known Fancourt longer than Quine and that it must have hurt, and she changes the subject to say Owen wasn’t all bad. He was obsessed with virility, in his life and his writing, and in one of his books the protagonist (who is intersex, and pregnant, but Rowling exclusively uses male pronouns) has to choose between parenthood and their aspirations as a writer – ‘aborting his baby, or abandoning his brainchild‘. But even though Orlando clearly wasn’t the sort of child he wanted, he did love her.
‘ “Except for the times he walked out on the family to consort with mistresses or fritter away money in hotel rooms,” ‘ Strike says truthfully.
Yes, all right, Liz snaps, but he still loved her. I’m not convinced.
After a long silence she changes the subject, and says that the police think Owen was blackmailing her. They’ve noticed all the transfers of money from her account to his over the years. She points out rather bitterly that her professional life is all known to everyone and that she has no private life to speak of, so what could he be blackmailing her over? She started giving him money after Orlando was born, because he’d burned through everything he’d ever earned, Fancourt was calling him a murderer to anyone who would listen, and he and Leonora didn’t have any friends or family to help them out. She lent them money for baby things, and helped with a deposit on a house, and contributed to fees for therapists and specialists when they realised Orlando wasn’t developing normally, and it got to be a habit that she lent them money a lot.
She describes Owen as an overgrown child – he could be annoying and petulant and selfish, but there was something about him that made people feel protective and want to help him, and she wanted to keep believing that he’d produce another really good book someday – there was always a glimpse of something in every bad book he produced that meant she couldn’t write him off completely. And Orlando’s very sweet, she adds gruffly.
Strike agrees – insincerely, one assumes – and mentions that Orlando saw her going into Owen’s office when she visited the house last. Still no explanation of how, when the police had locked it up. Liz hesitates, obviously not happy that she’d been seen, then says she wanted to see what else Owen might have left lying around after reading herself depicted in the book, but that the place was such a mess she realised she’d never find anything and she didn’t want to leave fingerprints so she walked straight out again.
They order dessert, and apparently this upscale Italian restaurant also serves apple crumble and custard. Of course it does. Also I still don’t care. This sort of background atmosphere can work well in a conversation, it stops it all just being dialogue and helps develop the scene, but for it to work the reader has to actually be interested in the characters and what they’re doing.
Strike changes the subject to mention that Chard wants to see him, and asks why Chard’s portrayed as the murderer of a young blond man in the book. Liz says she’s not going to interpret the book for him, and he asks about Kathryn, why is the Harpy’s lair full of rat skulls? She’s happy enough to answer that, because all women in Rowling’s world hate all other women; she never liked Kathryn and hates her writing as well, and it’s all the internet’s fault for making people think they can write.
Fuck you, Rowling. Sincerely, the very high proportion of your fans who write fanfiction, or roleplay, or otherwise write about your work. Fuck. You.
Anyway, Kathryn works for an animal testing facility, hence the rats. Liz doesn’t know who the Harpy’s daughter is meant to be, or the dwarf the Cutter kills, and doesn’t know who Pippa is.
It’s now gone one-thirty a.m. and I’m interrupting this post to sing and dance a bit to Culture Club on the radio. It’s not a pretty sight, trust me, but I hope it’s marginally more entertaining than this book 😛
Strike asks about Joe North. He was from California, he was a few years younger than Liz, Fancourt and Owen, he was gay and he was writing a book about his life in San Francisco. He was a good writer, but not a quick one; he spent a lot of time partying. He was also HIV-positive and went on to develop AIDS, at which point all his friends abandoned him except Fancourt and Owen, and he died before finishing his first book.
I’m not going to comment. Rowling hasn’t handled this subject well in the past and the best we can hope for here is that it’s not mentioned again.
Joe died shortly before Fancourt and Owen fell out. Fancourt was ill and missed the funeral, Owen was a pallbearer. Joe left them the house out of gratitude for them standing by him when he became ill, but his will says it has to be used as an artist’s refuge, which is why they haven’t managed to sell it, though they did manage to rent it to a sculptor briefly. Liz doesn’t think Fancourt’s used it since the fight, and she says Owen didn’t use it in case he ran into Fancourt there. Fancourt finished Joe’s book and published it – classy move, dude.
Liz says she has to go, and Strike asks a couple more questions. Anstis told him she’d had some work done on the house? Yes, just basic repairs, she gave her key to the foreman for the duration and checked on them a few times, then gave the key back to Owen. Does she know if hydrochloric acid was used in any of the renovation?
…how would you renovate a building with gallons upon gallons of industrial-strength acid? Answers on a postcard.
She says the police asked about that too, what’s so important about hydrochloric acid? Strike says he can’t tell her that. Subtle. Shrugging, she says it was probably left there by the sculptor who briefly rented the house, he worked with rusted metal and corrosive chemicals which is why he wasn’t there very long.
Liz leaves, and hopefully leaves Strike with the bill although it’s not mentioned, and Strike goes back to the office. He plans to be nice to Robin because he thinks he pissed her off this morning, but when he gets there she tells him the car-hire people don’t have any automatic cars available and he flips out at her because he can’t possibly drive a manual with his leg and it’s clearly somehow her fault. Hasn’t she tried anywhere else?
Of course I have, she says coldly. Nobody has an automatic available on such short notice. And the weather’s going to be terrible anyway, so –
Strike tunes out and angsts about his leg and how he doesn’t want to have to stop wearing his prosthetic and go back to using crutches and waaaaa woe is him. Well then, dumbass, you should have gone to the hospital earlier so whatever this mysterious probably-fake injury is could be treated quickly, shouldn’t you.
Robin snaps at him for not listening to her, and says that she’s just offered to drive him there. Strike instantly says no, of course, though for once he has a reason – she’s got to be in Yorkshire the morning after. Fair point, that’s a long journey at the best of times, and coming from Devon you’re looking at eight to ten hours even without heavy snow. The side effect of not generally getting much snow is that when we do, we’re totally unprepared and it causes a ludicrous amount of chaos.
She insists it will be fine, and he gives in because he apparently can’t think of any other way he could possibly get to Devon.
The chapter ends on this note:
‘Owen Quine had not thought women had any place in literature; he, Strike, had a secret prejudice too – but what choice did he have, with his knee screaming for mercy and no automatic car for hire?’
I dread to think why he’s so opposed to a woman driving him somewhere. I’m sure it’s going to be a terrible reason. As for what choice he has… gosh, yes, how unfortunate. If only there was some sort of public transport available between London and Devon. Like, say, a train or a coach.
So, I’m going to predict quite a bit of the rest of the book. Obviously, the snow is going to be severe enough to delay them. If we’re very unlucky they’re going to break down in the snow and be forced to huddle together for warmth all night, in which case I’m telling you right now that I’m going to throw this fucking book out of the window and not finish it. Robin’s going to miss the funeral. Matthew’s going to (deservedly) dump her. She and Strike will not get together because Rowling will drag that out for at least another book, probably more, and throw in lots of chances to make one another jealous and probably – God forbid – a love triangle.
As for the actual murder plot, I don’t think I particularly care any more than the book seems to.
I need to stay awake for at least another five or six hours, but I can’t face any more of this stupid book right now.
Yeah, I was going to try for a couple more chapters in this post, but it’s so dull and irritating that it saps my energy. For the last several posts I’ve been planning to do shorter summaries and try to move through faster, but once I start there’s just so much to be annoyed with. I promise, if I ever manage to finish this I’ll start covering something more interesting.