Several times while reading The Cuckoo’s Calling,I kept wondering if and when the novel might have come up on my radar had it not been for the coverage that the Robert Galbraith is a pen name for best-selling author J.K. Rowling.
I probably wouldn’t have sampled it as quickly, but I do think I’d have tried the novel eventually. I also think I would have enjoyed it just as much as I did here. A good mystery is a good mystery, no matter who’s telling the story.
And for my money, The Cuckoo’s Calling is a good mystery.
Down on his luck private investigator Cormoran Strike is having a good run of bad luck. He’s down to a single client, he can’t pay his bills and his girlfriend has kicked him out of their apartment, possibly for good this time. Enter into his life a new temporary secretary in Robyn, who Strike doesn’t have the money to pay, much less the business to justify employing her in a regular position. But Strike’s ship may have come in when the well-to-do client John Bristow enters the office and convinces Strike to take the case of the apparent suicide of his model sister, Lula Landry. Strike is won over by Bristow’s conviction and the sheer amount of money that Bristow can pay to look further into the case.
If you’re a fan of British mysteries like those written by Elizabeth George, you’re probably going to enjoy The Cuckoo’s Calling. The story brings in a variety of suspects, red herrings and interesting investigative avenues before the culprit is finally revealed. In addition, the novel also delves a bit into the characters of Strike and Robyn, who is attracted to the private eye lifestyle that Strike inhabits. The novel is clearly setting these two up as an intriguing team of detectives with Strike as the old-school detective and Robyn’s mastery of all things Google and the ability to put together pieces that Strike has overlooked or heading down avenues that Strike has not thought of yet.
It’s interesting to see Rowling try new things as a writer. This one is clearly not intended for readers who grew up on Harry Potter. And while a series of novels set in this universe probably won’t fly off shelves like the adventures of the boy wizard did, I can’t help but think a few more entries in this series couldn’t or wouldn’t be as satisfying and entertaining to read. I certainly know I’d be interested in reading more of the exploits of Strike and Robyn.