Here’s why JK Rowling came to Harborough!

JK Rowling
JK Rowling

Regular readers might recall a small article in the Harborough Mail in February, about a sighting of author JK Rowling in Market Harborough.

The Harry Potter author was spotted in a town cafe - specifically Milo’s in Bennett’s Place, off the High Street.

Cafe owner Natalie Panting was convinced the author dropped in on a Friday lunchtime, with a friend.

Well now - nine months on - we know why JK Rowling was in town: she was doing some research for her latest book.

JK Rowling’s new novel Career of Evil - written under her crime fiction pseudonym of Robert Galbraith - is partly set in Market Harborough.

“Not everyone believed us when we said we’d had JK Rowling in the cafe,” admitted Natalie. “But I think this pretty much proves it!”

The two main characters in the book, one-legged private eye Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott, drive into Market Harborough on page 218, investigating a lead in a multiple murder case.

The book refers to premises in Adam and Eve St and St Marys Rd, including a (fictitious) massage parlour.

To quote from the book: “The impression of genteel antiquity only increased when they reached Market Harborough itself.

“The ornate and aged church of St Dionysius rose proudly in the heart of the town, and beside it, in the middle of the central thoroughfare, stood a remarkable structure resembling a wooden house on stilts.

“They found a parking space to the rear of this peculiar building ... Biblical verses painted in gold ran round the structure. ‘Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart’.”

Career of Evil is the third book in the author’s Cormoran Strike series.

Strike is an injured war veteran turned private investigator working in present-day London, helped by his right-hand-woman Robin Ellacott.

In Career of Evil, he’s pursuing a brutal killer who may -or may not - have a link with Market Harborough.

The Cormoran Strike novels have had a slew of good reviews.

“A preposterously compulsive page-turner” said The Sunday Times; “irresistible reading” said The Guardian;“an ingenious whodunit”added the Sunday Mirror.

JK Rowling has said she wanted to publish under a male pseudonym to avoid the Harry Potter hype and “take my writing persona as far away as possible from me”.

But the secret of who ‘Robert Galbraith’ really was came out shortly after the release of the first book in the series - to Rowling’s annoyance.

The Market Harborough mentions in the latest book are likely to make the town a familiar name all over the world.

After Rowling was revealed as the author, the first two books in the series became international best-sellers.

And the BBC has confirmed it will be turning The Cormoran Strike Mysteries into a brand new TV series for BBC1, meaning Market Harborough could soon be on primetime TV too!