The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

16160797 The Cuckoo’s Calling (A Cormoran Strike Novel)

by Robert Galbraith

Gah!  I have been having such a hard time finding time to read lately!

This book, written by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith (my understanding is that she wanted to see if she could write something that would sell without the benefit of her famous name; she could.  The book apparently sold very well before the cat was let out of the bag as to the real author) and published in 2013, is a classic private-eye/murder mystery novel.

Private detective Cormoran Strike, Afghanistan war hero and amputee, recently thrown out by his long-time girlfriend and living in his office, is in a bad place personally and professionally.  He can’t pay his bills and has no clients to speak of – until John Bristow arrives in his shabby office one day offering Strike a load of money to reinvestigate the death of his super model sister, the famous Lula Landry – “Cuckoo” to her friends – deemed a suicide by the police.  Strike is hesitant to take the case because it does appear so clearly to have been suicide, but the promise of sums that might dig him a long way out of the financial hole he’s in convinces him to accept Bristow’s offer.  What begins as mostly humoring the dead woman’s brother quickly turns into something else altogether.  What really happened that cold, snowy night when the ethereally beautiful and young Miss Landry fell to her death from a fourth story balcony?

As Strike works his way through interviews of relevant witnesses and interested parties, everybody begins to look like a possible suspect; everyone seems to have had a motive to end Lula’s life.  The story takes some interesting turns, and although I found the conclusion to be somewhat unlikely, I still found the story to be engaging and enjoyable.  There were some holes in the story, I thought, although I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read it, so I’ll leave it at that.

Rowling/Galbraith does a wonderful job, as always, of creating vivid characters that come to live on the pages.  I love that Cormoran Strike is not strikingly handsome nor debonair, but flawed in his physicality and psyche; these qualities make him likeable and real.  His assistant, Robin, who literally stumbles into her job with Strike, is also an admirable and integral character.

I’m looking forward to the second installment in this series, The Silkworm.

4 thoughts on “The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

  1. I read an interesting article/blog post about this last year… though not about the merits of the book itself. It basically said that if she really wanted to see if she could write something worthy, she should have submitted this to an agent/publisher anonymously – just like every other aspiring writer out there. If it made it out of the slush pile on it’s own – then there would be no doubt. Instead she apparently gave it to her own publisher and when sales were stale they “leaked” the identity of the author. She went from something like 4500 to number 1 on Amazon in a day. I like her ok, but I wonder if this would have even been published if she had gone the anonymous route.


    • Huh! See, I heard something quite different. What I heard was that she submitted it under the pseudonym and it actually sold pretty decently before it was revealed that Robert Galbraith was actually J.K. Rowling. Who knows? And in the end, who really cares? I mean, Stephen King did the same thing – writing under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. Personally, as a lover of books, if I enjoy a book, I couldn’t care less who wrote it.


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