J.K. Rowling has a new book due out this week that is about two detectives investigating a cold case about a cisgender man who wears women’s clothes to kill women.
An early review of Troubled Blood called it a “book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress.”
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Rowling has spent the better part of this year promoting anti-transgender sentiment online, even publishing a long, rambling essay where she says protections for transgender people will inevitably lead to “any man who believes or feels he’s a woman” assaulting women in public restrooms.
Now it sounds like she’s getting that worldview published in a fictional novel, written under the pen name Robert Galbraith and due out on September 15.
The book is about private investigators Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott. According to the book’s description, Ellacott is “juggling a messy divorce and unwanted male attention, as well as battling her own feelings about Strike.” Sexy and original!
“The meat of the book is the investigation into a cold case: the disappearance of GP Margot Bamborough in 1974, thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer,” wrote Jake Kerridge in a review in The Telegraph.
“One wonders what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues will make of [the] book.”
Kerridge said the book “is good on characterization, weak on everything else” and gave it three out of five stars.
The idea that cisgender men dress up or identify as women in order to access women’s facilities to attack them is an old anti-transgender myth often explicitly used to oppose transgender rights.
The book is the fifth in the Cormoran Strike series, which started in 2013 and have been published under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Rowling didn’t tell people that she wrote the books at first but was discovered by reviewers who claimed to be surprised that a man could describe women’s clothes that well.
“Being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,” Rowling said at the time.
The second novel in the Cormoran Strike series, The Silkworm, also had a transgender woman character who is described as “unstable and aggressive” and tries to stab Strike before he threatens to call the police.
“It won’t be fun for you” in prison, Strike says in the book. “Not pre-op.”