The Cuckoo’s Calling is like that delicious bowl of ice cream that surprises you with every single bite; the sweet nostalgia of classic chocolate, a touch of sticky caramel with an occasional nutty crunch. An elegantly written, classic detective story set in London.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling
Cormoran Strike is no ordinary private eye. But the famous ones rarely are, you see. Back in the day when I was binge reading Philip Marlow and Lew Archer stories I was always drawn to these lone wolf type of dudes, draped in cigarette smoke, constantly sipping on whiskey with a cynical smile. Although Cormoran’s poison of choice is beer, he’s also often grumpy and morose but with his bearlike appearance also quite endearing, if you stick around long enough to look under the surface.
The Cuckoo’s Calling flows like a good, old fashioned murder mystery in the vein of those classics, with posh clientele, a nearly broke private investigator, a competent side kick and a death ruled as suicide by the police, who are of course incompetent.
The mystery itself is quite straight forward, and not particularly action packed, but with the slower pacing, the deliciously outdated dialogues and descriptions getting lost in this book is a truly great and unusual experience. There’s a lot of legwork involved in hunting down witnesses and suspects, so we get around London quite a bit. The atmosphere is so tangible, you could just wrap it around yourself like a blankie.
Even though Cormoran Strike and his secretary, Robin Ellacott definitely have some chemistry going on, they dance on a fine line between professional relationship and something resembling a careful, but strange manifestation of a friendship. Romantic involvement was gracefully left alone, thank fuck, and I can’t wait to join these two on their next case.
A highly entertaining detective story, The Cuckoo’s Calling is the perfect read for fans of old-school murder mysteries, and quirky, descriptive prose.