I’ve just finished reading “The Cuckoo’s Calling“. Yes, I picked it up because JK Rowling wrote it – and after the hullaballoo after A Casual Vacancy came out, I fully understand why she chose to go incognito for this one. After I finished reading A Casual Vacancy, I read some reviews of it – one in particular spent more than two thirds of the review complaining that it just wasn’t Harry Potter and the other third rambling about a different book.
All that aside, it was pretty good. And if JK Rowling had chosen Roberta instead of Robert, she probably could have maintained the illusion for a bit longer. The book had a definite feminine voice.
It was the kind of book I’d think about when I wasn’t reading it (wondering what was going to happen next), and looked forward to reading to find out what was in fact going to happen next. The interplay between the two main characters was believable (although I didn’t pick up on the bird theme until umm. Just now, believe it or not!) and I liked that Robin’s fiance was a slightly morose and slightly dull background creature – I could totally see him as an accountant or an actuary. In fact I henceforth visualise him as a slightly dull background accountant that I used to know. Because there’s going to be more books featuring Cormorant Strike and Robin Endacott (I could be misremembering that). They make a good team, and I would like to be seeing and reading more of them! Robin was a proper old school secretary (with an emphasis on secret, I think) the absolute soul of discretion, quick with a pain killer and an antacid when required, and a dab hand at the interwebs – always useful for the 21st century detective.
Not going to say too much about the story, although there were a few obvious Clues. Like – “Look! A Clue!” I didn’t work it out until more or less the end (I thought it was someone else for a fair while), and I like that in a book. It’s always a bit disappointing to get to the end and realise that it was someone you’ve never come across before who’s responsible, or even worse, have the villain be blindingly obvious to all but the detective.
One issue I had was the constant reference to how HAIRY Mr Strike is. Man, I kept thinking of that Cadbury ad with the gorilla. That hairy, hey? And I saw Lula’s boyfriend more as a Russell Brand type (most other people think Pete Doherty, but I found Evan to be nicer on the whole.) And I’m pretty sure that Cormorant could have come clean about the whole wooden leg thing a lot earlier. I couldn’t see why he’d necessarily hide it, and it wasn’t even needed as a plot device.
Looking forward to the next one with great interest – there’s bound to be enough crime for a one legged gorilla in London.