Friday, May 16, 2014

'The Cuckoo's Calling' by Robert Galbraith

16 May 2014

I really enjoyed 'The Cuckoo's Calling' – J. K. Rowling's first foray into crime fiction, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Though set in contemporary London, it's quite an old fashioned private eye novel. The detective, Cormoran Strike, takes his place in a line descending from Sherlock Holmes through Philip Marlowe and Dirk Gently. 'The Cuckoo's Calling' is in a very similar vein to Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie novels, such as 'Started Early, Took My Dog' (reviewed here in April 2011). Both detectives have an army background, a troubled love-life, an assistant who is more capable than they expect and a strong sense of moral justice. The plot of 'The Cuckoo's Calling' is a little more conventional than Kate Atkinson's multi-strand narratives, and it's not the most literary detective novel, but it was a very enjoyable puzzle. Best of all 'The Cuckoo's Calling' obeys my first two rules of detective fiction – 1. The Reader should not know any more than the detective and 2. The detective should work out 'who done it' from the clues they unearth, rather than being handed the solution on a plate by a turn of events. I look forward to the next Cormoran Strike novel which is due to be published this summer.



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