fathers day special edition international review: robert galbraith, the cuckoo’s calling

Today is Fathers Day, as you may have noticed from all the cordless drill ads on tv lately. Neither my partner, celebrating his second Fathers Day, nor my own dad (celebrating his forty-second) are particularly cordless drill types, but, luckily, they’re both literary types, which clearly suits me fine. My beloved dad especially loves crime fiction, which is great for both discussion of books we’ve both read and for being a handy depository for all the crime books I can’t fit in my house.

At the moment, he’s reading my copy of Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling, and enjoying it, much as I did. In case you missed the furore, Galbraith is actually one J K Rowling, showing that she is a more than capable crime author and someone who needs to get a new cover designer (which is a rant for a future post.)

Cormoran Strike is a private investigator as down and out as they come: he has just broken up with his girlfriend Charlotte, has now set up a home in his office, and has only one case. Then along comes John Bristow, whose superstar sister has recently died. The case was ruled a suicide, but he doesn’t agree with the findings, and finds his way via an old childhood connection to Strike.

Cormoran’s is incredibly named and great fun; he’s physically imposing but never anything less than empathetic. His successes are yours, and when he finds himself a new secretary named Robin who becomes, well, the Robin to his Batman, it sets the stage for a beautiful friendship that I could quite happily have read on every single page.

His ex-girlfriend Charlotte feels like a bit of a red herring, always discussed but never physically present; the name Lula Landry feels overly contrived; finally, I did think that the conclusion was one readers would be unable to come to using only the information supplied in the book. Still, I rarely try to figure things out myself—I’m just not that clever—and beyond those very minor squabbles I was wholeheartedly delighted by The Cuckoo’s Calling and hope she releases a sequel, or three.

In the meantime—Happy Fathers Day, dad. May we share many more crime reads and you enjoy many more days babysitting my kid so I can go to the flicks.

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