This book, I heard, got good reviews even before the word got out that it was written by J.K. Rowling using a pseudonym. Like all J.K. Rowling books, I quite enjoyed it. It is well written, well constructed, and for her first whodunit, Rowling really does not give away the real culprit until she has to.
The plot centers on the violent death of Lula Landry, a mixed-raced gorgeous model who plummets to her death from the balcony of her luxurious London flat. Cormoran Strike, an impecunious private investigator who was once the classmate of Lula’s older brother, is hired by the other brother to reinvestigate the case after the police rules it a suicide. A number of threads intertwine in this complex exploration of Lula’s world: the inner workings of her adoptive family, the life story of her biological parents, her relationship to a fashion designer who calls her his muse, her narcissistic boyfriend, the interest of a rap singer who wrote some lyrics about her, the private and public lives of various socialites and their parasitic relationships with the paparazzi, etc… Of course, we also learn a lot about Cormoran Strike himself as well as his temporary secretary, Robin. Most characters end up being treated in a sympathetic light, in spite of their human frailties, except for the one with the really sick mind…
Apparently, Rowling has another book ready to publish. I hope it’s another “Cormoran Strike” investigation, because that would be fun to read. The complexity of his character does lend itself to exploration of new angles.
Galbraith, Robert. The Cuckoo’s Calling. Mulholland Books: London, 2013.