THE CUCKOO’S CALLING by Robert Galbraith

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.
              Christina G. Rossetti,  “A Dirge”
I really like literary allusions.  Adds a touch of highbrow-ness to what would otherwise be a typical genre detective novel.  And of course, you know who Robert Galbraith is, right?  That is the pseudonym for …… ta dah …..  J. K. Rowling.
Really good book, good mystery.  Did you expect less from the redoubtable Mz. Rowling?  Of course not.   After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.
His last temp secretary/receptionist left, and into his life walked Robin Ellacott, temping only temporarily until she found a real job.   What a surprise both were to each other, as he whipped open the door to rush out just as she was about to knock.  Turns out she is a treasure, I tell you, a treasure.  She is clever and resourceful, and has always secretly wanted to work as a detective, so this job is just the ticket.  Except that Strike has no money, and can only find money to pay for one more week of temp service.  And then, in walks a client … well, talk about fictional good luck!  It seems that his sister,  the famous supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but her brother refuses to believe that.
So it is a lot of fun, the world of the rich and famous and sometimes stupid, the world of designers, and ambition, and …. oh, never mind.  It is a murder mystery.  Go enjoy it.
I think Rawlings suffers from being Rawlings in that her critics tend to do too much comparison.  Some people don’t like her writing style.  For me, it was fine.  It was a British detective fiction; I guess I expect the characters to all sound like they just stepped out of an Austin novel.



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