Not Just “Goin’ Through the Motions”

A Galbraith Update: I originally wrote this article 5 years ago. Since then, J.K. Rowling’s actively transphobic comments on Twitter have become a problem, and to be honest have been a problem for a while now. I finally decided to add this header here to note that, much as I had reservations about Rowling’s depictions of LGBT+ folk here, recent events have made me less and less inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.

In particular, I have become aware that the Robert Galbraith pseudonym overlaps disturbingly with Robert Galbraith Heath, a psychiatrist whose work included implanting electrodes in a patient’s brain in order to attempt a form of gay conversion therapy. Whilst it is entirely possible this is a coincidence – supposedly she arrived at the pen name from combining the names of Robert Rowling and J.K. Galbraith – I feel like when an author chooses a pseudonym it’s just good due diligence to give it a quick Google to make sure the name isn’t associated either with an existing author or a controversial figure.

Did she fail to do this, did she Google it but fail to find the information, or did she Google it, find the information, and just not care enough to change it? I’m not sure it matters. If it’s not a coincidence, it’s awful. If it is a coincidence, then it’s a coincidence so apt to her recent statements that it’s almost poetic justice that this has been exposed.

At any rate, I no longer encourage anybody to read this book. There is no shortage of detective fiction out there, there is no reason why anyone should read this series in preference to any other one written with equal or greater competence and less cringeworthy aspects.

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