The Casual Vacancy is a 2012 tragicomedy novel written by British author J.K. Rowling. The book was published worldwide by Little, Brown Book Group on 27 September 2012. It was Rowling's first publication since the Harry Potter series, her first apart from that series, and her first novel for adults.
The novel is set in a suburban West Country town called Pagford and begins with the death of Parish Councillor Barry Fairbrother. Subsequently, a seat on the council is vacant and a war breaks out before the election for his successor takes place. Factions develop, particularly concerning whether to dissociate with a local council estate, "the Fields" — which Barry supported an alliance with. However, those running for a place soon find their darkest secrets revealed on the Parish Council online forum, ruining their campaign and leaving the election in turmoil.
Major themes in the novel are class, politics and social issues like that of drugs, prostitution and rape. The novel was the fastest-selling in the United Kingdom in three years and had the second best-selling opening week there since Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. It became the 15th best-selling book of 2012 during its first week of release. Within the first three weeks the book’s total sales have topped one million copies in English in all formats across all territories, including the U.S. and the U.K. The book also set a Goodreads record for the all-time biggest "started reading" day.
The book is being adapted into a BBC television drama for release in 2014.