Robert Galbraith creates a cracking good mystery in The Cuckoo’s Calling. Just in case you didn’t already know, Galbraith is the pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame. However, this is only my second Rowling book. I’m not a Potter fan. This series, though? Love it! From now on, I’ll use the pseudonym when referring to the author. More mysterious, isn’t it?
In Cuckoo’s Calling, Lula Landry is a supermodel. She’s also living with bipolar disorder. And she’s the adopted daughter of a haughty English family. It’s quite a heady combination for a young woman, and she isn’t so sure of herself. However, as the story begins, Lula goes over the balcony of her luxury flat and dies.
Naturally, the police imagine it’s suicide. But her brother John isn’t convinced. So he hires down-and-out private eye Cormoran Strike to investigate further. Strike has plenty of his own baggage, including previous Army service, a prosthetic leg, spiteful ex, and mounting debts. He’s a quintessential underdog. Along for the ride is Strike’s temporary assistant, Robin, who’s always dreamed of being a detective.
Strike is a dogged investigator. He’s the proverbial pit bull who sinks his teeth in and won’t let go. And Galbraith gave me enough details about Lula to ensure I’d get emotionally involved with her tragic demise. Robin is a smart, engaging foil to Strike too.
The number of characters is fairly numerous, which helps add to the potential suspects. Galbraith keeps all the possible motives coming at Strike, and his investigative prowess is truly tested. I had plenty of whodunit theories!
I like all of the distinctly English places and terminology. Kudos to author and publisher for not Americanizing the language or story. Once again, a book has made me wish for more time and money to travel. But this kind of armchair traveling and detecting works too!
I’ve been buying the books from this series when they’ve gone on sale, so I’m stoked to have the next two ready to go. It won’t be long before I jump back into Galbraith’s, and Cormoran Strike’s, London.