Although I devoured Agatha Christie’s whole oeuvre as a teenager, I haven’t read much detective fiction as an adult. I was interested to read this due to the publicity surrounding the revelation that it was actually JK Rowling writing under a pseudonym. Unlike many reviewers, I quite enjoyed her first (published) foray into adult books, The Casual Vacancy which I thought had an interesting, original plot and some intriguing characters. So, I was actually quite looking forward to this.
From the outset, it is pretty clear that Cuckoo’s Calling is rather ‘modern detective novel by numbers’. Ex-military police turned private eye Cormoran Strike (what a name!) is hired by the brother of a dead supermodel as he, contrary to the police and inquest, believes her death to have been murder, not suicide. Strike duly investigates the case, while struggling with his prosthetic leg (courtesy of a tour in Afghanistan) and the break up of his relationship. He hires a temporary secretary, Robin, who turns out to be a huge asset. The model’s family, friends and neighbours are all interviewed, clues are collected, red herrings thrown about and there is a big reveal of ‘whodunit’ which, I’m ashamed to say as it was probably pretty obvious, I failed to guess.
If that seems pretty formulaic then it’s true, it is; but it is nevertheless an enjoyable, entertaining read. The dialogue, of which there is a lot, seems natural, the characters are ok, I actually quite like Cormoran and Robin, and I was keen to find out what had happened. It has TV show written all over it and I think it would be a good watch. I won’t be on the edge of my seat until the next installment as there will surely be more Strike adventures, but I would happily pick it up from the library.