The “transvestite serial killer” in J.K. Rowling’s new book is described as stealing his grandmother’s underwear and masturbating into it, excerpts that have been made public online show. The killer, according to Rowling, uses a “queer” demeanor and women’s clothes to get close to women before killing them.
Troubled Blood was released yesterday, and it’s the fifth book in the Cormoran Strike detective series that Rowling has published under the pen name “Robert Galbraith.” And central to the book’s plot is Strike’s investigation of a cold case involving a cross-dressing killer.
Get the Daily Brief
The news you care about, reported on by the people who care about you:
Rowling has been making her thoughts on transgender women very public this past year, often portraying transgender protections as a threat to women and children because, she says, “any man who believes or feels he’s a woman” can enter women’s facilities and attack women.
Central to this narrative is the idea that any person who is assigned male at birth is and always will be masculine and therefore potentially violent to cisgender women. People assigned male at birth may sometimes appear feminine, soft, and gentle, but their “true” masculine natures will always rule their psyches, according to the transphobic narrative.
In one passage in Troubled Blood, killer Dennis Creed “donned the coat of a female co-worker to imitate singer Kay Starr” and “camouflaged himself behind an apparently fey and gentle façade.”
“Dennis Creed had been a meticulous planner, a genius of misdirection in his neat little white van, dressed in the pink coat he’d stolen from Vi Cooper, and sometimes wearing a wig that, from a distance, to a drunk victim, gave his hazy form a feminine appearance just long enough for his large hands to close over a gasping mouth,” the book says, according to an excerpt published in Pink News.
In another passage, Rowling says that Creed used “a convivial, sexually ambiguous persona” to get close to his victims.
“In a wig, bit of lipstick, they think you’re harmless, odd… maybe queer. Talked to her for a minute or two, little dark corner. You act concerned… bit of Nembutal in her drink… tiny amount, tiny.”
Strike finds a stash of jewelry in Cross’s home at some point in the book, jewels that Cross took from his victims after he killed them. Cross says, though, that he just had them “because he liked to cross-dress.”
Cross also says that, as a child, he liked to spy on women because it gave him a “sense of power” to feel “I stole something of their essence from them.”
“He soon progressed to stealing women’s underwear from neighbours’ washing lines and even from his grandmother, Ena. These he enjoying wearing in secret, and masturbating in.”
The recent Netflix documentary Disclosure is about how transgender women are presented as psychotic, violent, and attempting to steal femininity from women as an act of appropriation.
It’s “exactly the feminist argument against the existence of trans women, that we’re trying to appropriate the female form,” said actress Jen Richards in the documentary, discussing the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs.