The Cuckoo's Calling

By Robert Galbraith,

Book cover of The Cuckoo's Calling

Book description

'The Cuckoo's Calling reminds me why I fell in love with crime fiction in the first place' VAL MCDERMID

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Now a major BBC drama: The Strike series

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However,…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Cuckoo's Calling as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

As a multi-genre author, I was interested to see how the creator of a world-famous boy wizard was going to change her name and turn her hand to crime writing. I relished the result: the first outing for a new private investigator, a character called Cormoran Strike.

Known simply as Strike, he is a P.I. with a handicap (aren’t they all?). Not just the common ones; excessive drinking, difficult relationships, and so on, Strike lost half his right leg whilst serving in Afghanistan. Retiring from service, the ex-MP becomes a private investigator. He has few clients, no money, and is…

A reworking of the hard-boiled crime novel, updated with a modern-day female partner and a not-quite romance, there is a lot to like in the first and, I think, shortest of Robert Galbraith’s/J.K. Rowling’s mystery series. Private investigator Cormoran Strike is down on his luck. He is deep in debt, sleeping in his office, and utterly unable to pay for Robin Ellacott, the agency temp he forgot to cancel. Things take a turn for the better, though, when a high-strung model falls to her death from an upscale London balcony. Everyone says it’s suicide, except her brother, who turns to…

I didn’t know what to expect from this first crime novel written by J.K. Rowling using a pseudonym – and all credit to her for selling the book without revealing she had written it. It would have been a success whoever the author was, though, as it introduces a truly original and very real private eye in Cormoran Strike. His relationship with his female assistant is also true-to-life, as is the London they inhabit. It’s deftly plotted and also manages to be funny, quite the writing achievement. 

From Mike's list on crime set in London.

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