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The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Title: The Cuckoo’s Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Author: Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling)

Series: Cormoran Strike Series Book #1

Publisher: Sphere Books

Genre: Crime, Mystery Thriller

First Publication: 2013

Language: English

Major Characters: Cormoran Strike, Robin Ellacott, Matthew Cunliffe, Lula Landry, John Bristow, Tony Landry, Lady Yvette Landry Bristow, Sir Alec Bristow, Detective Inspector Roy Carver

Setting Place: London, England

Narration: Third-person limited omniscient perspective

Followed by: The Silkworm


Book Summary: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Cormoran Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

On a snowy night, a woman lays dead in the snow. Did Lula Landry jump or was someone else responsible for this beautiful model’s early death, that is what Coroman Strike is hired to find out. The ex-military Private Investigator will seek answers traveling amongst blue-bloods, artists, and the homeless. Why do most people want to believe it was suicide?

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith is an introduction to the new fictional detective Cormoran Strike. It is really a good mystery where the murder actually gets investigated methodically and the picture is gradually revealed through interviews and evidence gathering. I know that might sound boring, but it’s totally not! I’ve had my eye on The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith for a long time and finally decided to go for it. I’m so glad I did because it was completely satisfying as a mystery. It kept me on the case while I wasn’t reading it, trying to put the clues together.

“The dead could only speak through the mouths of those left behind, and through the signs they left scattered behind them.”

I had a couple of decent theories, but I was nowhere close to being right. I love a mystery that gives me enough to chew on but still surprises me in the end. Especially when the answer fits all the pieces together instead of adding something new – of course I can’t figure it out if I don’t have all the information. But that was not a problem here, so the ‘clicking into place’ was very satisfying.

The characters in The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith are really well done. Even more than the mystery, they are what kept me up late reading. Cormoran Strike is such a great character, full of tension. He’s real and deep, and I loved seeing his progression throughout the book. I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops in the sequels. The story really is about him, not just about a murder that happens to need a detective as a by-product.

“A lie would have no sense unless the truth were felt as dangerous.”

I also really loved Robin, his temp secretary. She’s enthusiastic, smart, enterprising, and empathetic. She provides a good balance for Cormoran’s older, broken-down, gritty brilliance. They both feel like real people with more than enough depth to sustain a series.

Add to this a vivid setting with a real sense of current day London and interesting details about the lives of the rich and famous (it’s not all roses), and you have a truly rich novel, not generic in any way. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith lingered with me after I finished it, and is still vivid in my mind a few days later. It’s safe to say I loved it.

“In the inverted food chain of fame, it was the big beasts who were stalked and hunted”

Aside: If I hadn’t already known J.K. Rowling wrote this, I wouldn’t have had a clue. She uses a completely different voice, style, and genre – hence the pseudonym. In my mind, the high quality and maturity of this book proves her versatility and growth as a writer.

About the title of the Book:

J K Rowling said on her website that “The title is taken from the mournful poem by Christina Rossetti called, simply, A Dirge, which is a lament for one who died too young. The title also contains a subtle reference to another aspect of the plot, but as I can’t explain what it is without ruining the story, I’ll let readers work that one out.”

A Dirge by Christina Rossetti

Why were you born when the snow was falling?
You should have come to the cuckoo’s calling,
Or when grapes are green in the cluster,
Or, at least, when lithe swallows muster
For their far off flying
From summer dying.

Why did you die when the lambs were cropping?
You should have died at the apples’ dropping,
When the grasshopper comes to trouble,
And the wheat-fields are sodden stubble,
And all winds go sighing
For sweet things dying.

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