The Cuckoo’s Calling: Cormoran Strike Book 1

Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling: Cormoran Strike Book 1
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The Cuckoo’s Calling: Cormoran Strike Book 1

Robert Galbraith

Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran - wounded both physically and psychologically - and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get - and the closer he gets to terrible danger…

A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London - from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End to the bustle of Soho - The Cuckoo’s Calling is a remarkable book.


I’m reluctant to admit that this flew under my radar when it was quietly released earlier in the year, but since the news that The Cuckoo’s Calling, with its underwhelming cover, is actually disguising the new J. K. Rowling, I picked it up with interest – and boy howdy am I glad I did.

Once I’d shaken off my expectations, I found myself very, very invested in the story: model Lula Landry throws herself onto a snowy sidewalk from her balcony, but three months later, her adopted brother takes his doubts over the circumstances of her death to private investigator and all-round entertaining and enormous protagonist Cormoran Strike. With Strike down on his luck (‘Business has doubled lately,’ he tells his sister when he takes on a second client), it’s a job that means he can afford pot noodles and new accommodation (read: a camp bed on his office floor).

Along with the case comes an unexpected new temp named Robin whom he can’t afford but whose stay you will be desperate to extend: she’s tenacious, and as a team they are as rich a crime-fighting duo as you could hope for. Initially investigating Lula’s death just for the money, Strike finds more leads than the unenthusiastic police, realising that those around the model hold secrets even phone tapping can’t uncover.

This book was still on my mind when I wasn’t reading it: who did it, could I figure it out, and why can’t more authors realise, as Rowling has, you don’t have to include sexual assault in a crime novel to make it interesting? Hopefully her unveiling as the author won’t discourage a sequel – we’re better off for this kind of crime writing.

Fiona Hardy puts together Dead Write for the Readings Monthly.

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