Best-selling author’s latest thriller links with north Norfolk round tower church

Best-selling author J K Rowling’s seventh novel in the highly successful Strike series is set in north Norfolk.

Although the precise locations are not known, the round tower church of St John the Baptist, Aylmerton, near Cromer will definitely feature. In a tweet, the author, who also writes under the pen name of Robert Galbraith, confirmed that her character, Cormoran Strike, visited the church.

She also visited the church too – signing in the visitors’ book on May 18, 2022. By a remarkable coincidence, the next visitor, signing below, was the Society’s long-serving secretary ‘Lyn Stilgoe after leaving leaflets on June 18.

The latest Strike novel, which features his private detective partner Robin Ellacott has been given the working title, “The Running Grave.” It will be published on September 26 has a hardback and ebook.

In one of the first books in the Strike series, which was first published 10 years ago, there’s a brief reference to Norfolk. Strike’s mother, Leda, took her son and youngest daughter to live in a commune in the heart of central Norfolk. This “quasi-mystical” community was later described by Strike as “the worst experience of his young life.”

In the best traditions of an old-fashioned mystery, the author, J K Rowling hinted while writing the latest thriller that it might be set in Norfolk. Again, she was seen in Cromer on a visit to the town’s museum in early 2022.

Other hints included a reference on her twitter feed in March 2022 when she included a photograph of Cromer pier. More recently, again she confirmed the Norfolk connection to Strike living in the commune on January 6, 2023.

Then, later the same month on January 21, she included a photograph of Aylmerton church. Rather oddly, the churchyard features a show of daffodils.

On April 4, the author confirmed that Strike had visited the church and sat on the right-hand side, in the third pew from the back.

This year also marks the tenth anniversary of the first novel in the series, The Cuckoo’s Calling.

“It’s been brilliant to see the enormous success of the Robert Galbraith books over the past ten years and an honour to publish them,” said David Shelley, group chief executive of Hachette UK.

“With over 11 million copies sold in the English language to date, the story of Strike and Robin has captured readers’ imaginations and, like so many others, I can’t wait to see what happens to them over the course of the final four books in the series,” he added.

The seventh of a planned series of 10, it is being published by Sphere, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group.