Check Out This Excerpt from J.K. Rowling’s “Lethal White”

Lethal White, the fourth novel in J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, is hitting store shelves this Tuesday, September 18, and the Guardian now has an excerpt from the book available for our reading pleasure!

Depicted is the scene described in the novel’s synopsis, which was released in July. A young man who appears to be mentally ill has come to Strike’s office – frightening Strike’s new temp, Denise – to tell him about a murder he witnessed as a child.

Panting, his right knee aching, Strike used the handrail to pull himself up the last few steps of the metal staircase leading to his office. Two raised voices were reverberating through the glass door, one male, the other shrill, frightened and female. When Strike burst into the room, Denise, who was backed against the wall, gasped, “Oh, thank God!”

Strike judged the man in the middle of the room to be in his mid-twenties. Dark hair fell in straggly wisps around a thin and dirty face that was dominated by burning, sunken eyes. His T-shirt, jeans and hoodie were all torn and filthy, the sole of one of his trainers peeling away from the leather. An unwashed animal stench hit the detective’s nostrils.

That the stranger was mentally ill could be in no doubt. Every ten seconds or so, in what seemed to be an uncontrollable tic, he touched first the end of his nose, which had grown red with repeated tapping, then, with a faint hollow thud, the middle of his thin sternum, then let his hand drop to his side. Almost immediately, his hand would fly to the tip of his nose again. It was as though he had forgotten how to cross himself, or had simplified the action for speed’s sake. Nose, chest, hand at his side; nose, chest, hand at his side; the mechanical movement was distressing to watch, and the more so as he seemed barely conscious that he was doing it.

Read the full excerpt here.

The man goes on to talk about the murder being “up by the horse,” bringing to mind this picture tweeted by J.K. Rowling when she finished writing the novel in March. What does it mean?

This fourth novel in the series follows The Cuckoo’s Calling, published in 2013; The Silkworm, published in 2014; and Career of Evil, published in 2015.

After a three-year wait for the next book, Lethal White is likely to reach more readers now than any of the previous books did, especially thanks to the Strike TV series – renamed C.B. Strike in the United States. The series has even amassed enough fans for this Cormoran Strike–themed walking tour of London to celebrate the book’s release.

We can’t wait to soak up this thrilling new mystery from our favorite author! You can order your copy here!

Catherine Lai

I have been a fan of Harry since 2000, a fan of MuggleNet since 2005, and a MuggleNet team member since 2013. I believe in the power of stories to bring people together, and nothing does that quite like Harry Potter. I live in Toronto, Canada.