The first thing that came to my mind when I finished reading Cuckoo’s calling was that there was nothing of Harry Potter’s JK Rowling in this one. So it was probably the right decision to write it under a pseudonym.
Coromoran Strike is a private detective whose personal and professional life is slowly crumbling. A war veteran from Afghanistan, he puts his disability aside to carry on with life. Dumped by his fiancee and homeless, Strike is vulnerable yet resilient.
Robin is a temporary secretary sent to his office to work for a week. While their first encounter doesn’t begin auspiciously, she finds it curiously mysterious and a childhood dream come true to work at a true blue private detective office.
John Bristow hires Strike’s services to investigate his sister’s Lula Laundry’s suicide which he believes to be murder. As Coromoran starts the investigation, we enter a world of glamour, sleaze, drugs, therapy and degradation.
While each character has something to hide, the layers of evidence, here-say, assumptions are cleared slowly and a picture emerges.
It’s been quite a while since I have read a traditional detective story where someone like Hercule Poirot is hired to do some investigating. Add to that you have Robin, the erstwhile secretary who is hired just for a week, but hangs on to the job just so to relish a long cherished dream of working with a private eye. She does make a great detective’s assistant.
I loved their chemistry. Reminded me of Perry Mason and Della Street. Though there is a tiny matter of Robin being engaged to be married.
While the book is a definite page turner, Galbraith flounders in the climax. The last chapter of the book is quite riveting but the motives for the investigation are not explained properly. That was the only failing of the book.
Nonetheless, this book is worth a read. Do not read this just because ‘you know who’ has written it. But even if you do, you will forget it after a few pages.
Plus Points: Great plot, fleshed out characters, great chemistry between Coromoran and Robin
Minus Points: Climax, unusual names for almost all characters except for the villain in the pack (that almost gives away the plot!)
Verdict: A must read