I wish that I’d read ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ before finding out that Robert Galbraith is in fact a penname of J.K. Rowling. But, once I got into the book, I was so absorbed that I was able to forget. After the fantasy-morality Harry Potter series and the intensely real ‘Casual Vacancy’ set in a reality I didn’t want to visit, this book was light and fresh. A well written detective story and almost certainly book one of a series (I love the main characters and don’t want to say goodbye).
Cormoran Strike is a private detective. His army career ended after an encounter with a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and his girlfriend convincing him not to stay on for a desk job. Now he has split with his girlfriend. He is homeless and living in on a camp bed in his office. He is in serious debt and his detective agency has only one client. When Robin Ellacott arrives for a one week temporary secretary role, Strike almost sends her away.
But, Robin is having a lucky day, and soon after her arrival, a new client walks in. John Bristow is the adopted brother of the supermodel Lula Landry who fell to her death from her balcony on a freezing night a few months back. The death has been ruled as suicide, but John doesn’t believe this.
The investigation takes Strike (and later Robin) into the lives of the rich and famous – Models, Actors, Fashion Designers and the people who hang around them. Everyone seems to have a secret, and with the ever-present Paparazzi, they are better than most at keeping their secrets hidden.
Eventually, and almost despite the police who investigated the suicide, Strike finds evidence of murder and manages to track down the murderer. Robin, much more than a secretary (she has a secret dream to be a detective), extends her stay with strike to see the case through.
Wow, I loved this book. The plot wasn’t super complicated or devious. The murderer wasn’t a complete surprise, but his past deeds were. The brilliance was in the characters. They came to life and left me with some excellent mental images. For example, the fashion designer Guy Somé spoke to me in the voice of Edna Mode from the Incredibles. And, I’ve already mentioned that I’ve fallen in love with Strike and Robin. I hope that we see them again in a series.
I must also be getting closer to my next re-reading of the Harry Potter series!
Book Published 2013