JK Rowling is embroiled in yet another trans row after it was revealed that the villain in her latest book is a male serial killer who dresses as a woman to slay his victims.
Troubled Blood – written under Rowling’s pseudonym Robert Galbraith – is set to be released on September 15 and will see detective Cormoran Strike work out what happened to missing GP Margot Bamborough.
He fears she fell victim to Dennis Creed, who has been dubbed a ‘transvestite serial killer’ for murdering his victims while wearing female clothing.
JK Rowling (left) is embroiled in yet another trans row after it was revealed that the villain in her latest book Troubled Blood (right) is a male serial killer who dresses as a woman to slay his victims
An early review of the 900-page book by The Daily Telegraph – in which the critics states the book’s ‘moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress’ – sparked immediate backlash online.
Furious critics rushed to Twitter to share their thoughts, making #RIPJKRowling trend in the UK.
Others said the book – which is not released until Tuesday – is not transphobic at all and over-eager detractors should read it before jumping to conclusions.
Observer journalist Nick Cohen wrote: ‘I’ve read the latest Strike novel, and the claim it’s anti-trans is total sh***.
‘I can’t tell you why it is total sh*** without giving away the ending. So until you read it yourself, which you should, you will just have to trust me: this is total sh***.’
A Twitter user called Steve replied stating: ‘But when you combine it with all the negative stereotyping she’s done about trans women, it shows a clear pattern.
‘It’s not anti-trans as such but it does play into the fears that trans women are cis males looking to spy on women.’
Cohen replied: ‘Read the bloody book why don’t you?’
In June, the Harry Potter author hit the headlines after she mocked an online article using the words ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women’.
She was hit by what she described as ‘relentless attacks’ after she wrote: ‘I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’
The acclaimed novelist then penned a deeply personal essay to address the controversy, revealing she was sexually assaulted in her 20s and saying she still feels the scars of ‘domestic violence’ in her first marriage.
Rowling’s remarks sparked backlash from a range of stars including Rupert, Emma Watson – who played Hermione in the film franchise, Daniel Radcliffe who played Harry and Eddie Redmayne, who stars in her Fantastic Beasts films.
But actor Robbie Coltrane – who played Rubeus Hagrid in the movies – told the Radio Times: ‘I don’t think what she said was offensive really.’
‘I don’t know why but there’s a whole Twitter generation of people who hang around waiting to be offended.
He added: ‘That’s me talking like a grumpy old man, but you just think, “Oh, get over yourself”.’
Cormoran Strike – the fifth book in the series – has been published by Sphere, an imprint of the Little, Brown Book Group.
Little, Brown Book Group are owned by Hachette, one of several publishers involved in Miss Rowling’s children’s book The Ickabog.
In June, several of those involved in The Ickabog, are said to have staged their own rebellion during a heated meeting.
One source said: ‘Staff in the children’s department at Hachette announced they were no longer prepared to work on the book.
‘They said they were opposed to her comments and wanted to show support for the trans lobby. These staff are all very “woke”, mainly in their twenties and early thirties, and apparently it is an issue they feel very strongly about.’
Another insider said: ‘It was a handful of staff, and they are entitled to their views. If they were being asked to edit a book on domestic abuse, and they were a survivor of domestic abuse, of course they would never be forced to work on it. But this is a children’s fairy tale. It is not the end of the world. They will all be having chats with their managers.’
Hachette is the parent company of Virago Press, a London-based company who publish women’s writing and feminist books. Notable published authors include Maya Angelou, Beatrix Campbell and Angela Carter.