The Cuckoo’s Calling by JK Rowling (published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith)
Published in 2013 by Mulholland Books/ Little, Brown and Company
About the Author
Joanne Rowling, writing under the pen names J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith, is a British novelist, philanthropist, film and television producer, screen writer best known for the Harry Potter fantasy series. The books have won multiple awards, and sold more than 500 million copies becoming the best selling book series in history.
Disabled Afghan war veteran, Cormoran Strike is now a struggling private investigator. He has just had a huge row with his long time girlfriend and is practically living in his office, having a few clients and a large debt to pay off. He is also saddled with a temporary assistant, Robin who has recently moved from Yorkshire with her boyfriend and becomes engaged the night before the novel begins. Cormoran is approached by John Bristol whose brother Charlie was one of Strike’s former schoolmates. Bristow wants Strike to investigate the death of his adoptive sister, Lula Landry who jumped to her death three months earlier but is convinced that she has been murdered by a man who was seen running from the scene of the death shortly after. Lula Landry is a 23 year old super model which makes the case a lot more murkier and high profile.
This book is different from most detective novels – most of them are fast paced and a page turner. Each chapter ends with a cliff hanger but Rowling has made this slow. This may be off putting in the start because you’re really wondering where this is going and the details makes your head spin. Every character seems equally innocent and guilty at the same time and you’re just wondering if it was money, professional jealousy, hate or love that killed her. Rowling tackles both sides of this glamorous world of modelling without seeming to veer towards either end. The ugly side is clearly the fights Lula has with her boyfriend, the conditions models have to work in, the papparazzi and sometimes, the jealousy of fellow models. The bright and sometimes almost blinding side is the fame, adulation, the access to anything and the money.
Rowling has handled this with care – she twists and weaves the story well, fleshing out all characters. Even her two detectives, Robin and Cormoran have their own personal lives that are bothering them or playing catch up. It does keep you hooked despite it being a leisurely read. London is described so well, I almost want to pack my bags and go there, feel the magic at Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Pub, Denmark Street, Franklin Row, Hyde Park and Mayfair.
The only drawback in this book is something I mentioned in the start of this review – if you are used to fast paced detective novels, then this isn’t the one for you. Rowling is a master at descriptions and detailing which may not be the best way to go in this genre. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. I hope you find it as fun as I did.