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The Rowling Magazine Issue #67 · July 2022

The Ink Black Heart: Cover & Synopsis

650 words

Fans from all over the world have been waiting for over two years to follow the adventures of the most acclaimed detective from Denmark Street, Cormoran Strike – whose last story was narrated in Troubled Blood back in 2020. Since then, many theories and hypotheses about the next adventure’s date were made, until December 2021, when J.K. Rowling revealed the title for this installment to be The Ink Black Heart.

Since then, we knew next to nothing about the sixth part of the Strike series. The first clue about what to expect came from the promotional video to promote the fifth book: “The next one will be very different from Troubled Blood […] We’re dealing in the next Strike novel with a far younger demographic, which will be exciting for me. I just like to bring in changes a lot, so, it’s gonna be a very different kind of investigation1. The next clues were subtly shared by J.K. Rowling on Twitter. How? She used different photos of a cemetery as her header image on Twitter, and fans noticed all the photos belonged to the Highgate Cemetery in London. But the author never confirmed that these clues belonged to the Strike book – in fact, some readers thought it was going to be related to the Fantastic Beasts films.

However, the newly synopsis for The Ink Black Heart reveals the Highgate Cemetery will be important in the plot:

When frantic, dishevelled Edie Ledwell appears in the office begging to speak to her, private detective Robin Ellacott doesn’t know quite what to make of the situation. The co-creator of a popular cartoon, The Ink Black Heart, Edie is being persecuted by a mysterious online figure who goes by the pseudonym of Anomie. Edie is desperate to uncover Anomie’s true identity.

Robin decides that the agency can’t help with this – and thinks nothing more of it until a few days later, when she reads the shocking news that Edie has been tasered and then murdered in Highgate Cemetery, the location of The Ink Black Heart.

Robin and her business partner Cormoran Strike become drawn into the quest to uncover Anomie’s true identity. But with a complex web of online aliases, business interests and family conflicts to navigate, Strike and Robin find themselves embroiled in a case that stretches their powers of deduction to the limits – and which threatens them in new and horrifying ways…

It is interesting to note that from the synopsis we know the role of the Highgate Cemetery: it is the location of the cartoon called The Ink Black Heart. However, some fans still believe there may be a secondary aspect for the location: it could be the cemetery in London where Leda Strike, Cormoran’s mother, is buried. According to the TV adaptation, Leda is buried in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, where her tomb is visited by her son Cormoran. However, this scene never takes place in the books so J.K. Rowling could have different plans for Leda’s resting place.

Another thing to mention is this is the second book in the series where the victim is an author. We had Owen Quine, author of Bombyx Mori in The Silkworm, while we now have Edie Ledwell, author of The Ink Black Heart. For this one, J.K. Rowling (or her editors team) decided to title her book the same as the cartoon–within-book, something that she almost did for The Silkworm, which had Bombyx Mori as the preliminar title and was later changed to the one eventually used.

We are not that far away from the publication date (August 30th), and it is possible that this synopsis is all we are going to get about the book until we can finally hold it in our hands. And this is not bad, considering that with crime books it is better to read without knowing anything about them.

References:

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag2kU2u6wv0

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