As we start the fourth book in the Strike series we are nearing the end of our readalong. If you’re reading for the first time or joining us again we hope you will join us as we complete Lethal White and officially begin the countdown to Troubled Blood.
When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.
Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.
And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been – Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much more tricky than that . . .
Reading Group Questions
1. Lethal White takes place in 2012, simultaneously with the London Olympics and Paralympics. What is the significance of this period, and why do you think Galbraith has chosen to set the novel over this summer?
2. Each chapter is headed with a quote from the play Rosmersholm by Henrik Ibsen. How do these quotes relate to the themes of the novel and why do you think they were included?
3. Now that Strike has solved several high-profile and important cases, including catching the Shacklewell Ripper, his profile has grown and he has achieved a level of fame he never expected. How does this make it harder for him to carry out his job as an investigator?
4. The Chiswell family hides a myriad of dark secrets and betrayals. Who do you think is the most reliable member of the family?
5. Throughout Lethal White, Strike and Ellacott are working through unresolved feelings that have been building since the start of the series. How is their relationship different at the end of the book compared to the beginning?
6. Billy Knight remembers seeing a crime committed when he was a young boy. Do we think we can trust Billy’s memories?
7. Lethal White is full of shocking twists, turns and red herrings. How effective do you think these are in the novel, and which was your favourite?