Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review of "The Cuckoo's Calling" [60]

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Mulholland Books, ISBN 978-0316206846
April 30, 2102, 464 pages

Cormoran Strike has had better days.
He has broken up with his posh, rich girlfriend, is a bit broken hearted and finds himself homeless as well, since he had moved in with her. His business as a private detective is going down the drain and a large part of his day involves trying to avoid calls from the man who holds the loan he cannot pay. Then he arrives at his rather seedy office to find that the temp agency has sent another secretary, who he also cannot afford to pay. Not to mention the constant pain from the prosthetic leg due to his war injury by a land mine in Afghanistan.

But things take a decided turn for the better up when a new client walks in the door. He is a wealthy man, the adopted son of a well known family whose sister, Lula Landry, a very and very rich supermodel supposedly killed herself 3 months ago, jumping from her apartment balcony. But the brother does not believe that is what happened and is willing to pay Cormoran several times his normal rate, with a big advance, to find out the truth.

OK, so now Cormoran can afford to keep that secretary, Robin, which is a very good thing, for the investigation and for the book. See, it has always been Robin’s secret dream to be a PI and this may be her one chance to fulfill that dream as she interviews for some "real jobs". She is very clever in her own right, adding a balance of finesse to Cormoran's rather hulking presence. She is the Dr. Watson to his Sherlock, an excellent team that I hope we will see again.

Of course, I am sure you have heard that the real author of this book is no other than the very famous JK Rowling. That would make no difference to me, not being a fan of her previous work, if only because I never read them. Either way, I would still have very much liked this book and would recommend it.

The characters, especially Cormoran and Robin are very good, and their interaction is great fun. Not that Robin's rather prissy fiancé agrees. But many of the secondary characters are very good as well, painting an interesting view of the whole paparazzi/club scene/super model/fashion world. And yet, for the entire very modern scene, it is a book that has a rather old-fashioned feel. I would forget at first that Cormoran was a vet of a very present day conflict. Cormoran could easily have been an injured soldier coming home from WWI or WWII. I read that Rowlings is a great fan of the earlier classic mysteries of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers and wanted to write a book in that style. If so, she certainly succeeds, along with adding a very modern touch, a fair bit of humor, and a no doubt personal understand of the danger of fame and success.

A well written, well plotted, quite enjoyable 'debut' mystery, that I certainly hope is the first in a series.


  1. I've never read any of her previous work either but I do intend to read this one. Good to see positive reviews.

  2. I wasn't crazy about her last adult book so I passed on this one. It looks like I made a mistake.

  3. I love H.P. with all of my heart. My son recently asked me if I could have one series with me on a deserted island what would it be, and I chose H.P. I did NOT read her last non-HP book because it got horrid reviews, but I do love a good mystery and I trust your judgement. I will have to see what audio options I have on this one.

    1. it is a nice solid, entertaining read, quite fun!

  4. I was thinking about reading this. Can I borrow it?

    1. It's on the Nook..we will discuss


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