This murder mystery thriller is written by JK ‘Galbraith’..err!..’Robert’ Rowling..Sorry I mixed it up…JK Rowling herself!
(I read it primarily because it is a hot seller in the market now and not because she wrote Harry Potter books, of which I have not read even one.)
Anyone can understand that the burden of fame and expectations from the readers’ world is so phenomenal that JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame decided to hide her celeb self under a `mysterious’ pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, while embarking on a different genre of story—An adult Murder Mystery as opposed to Youngsters’ fantasies she is well known for..
Have a change of scene, as James Hadley Chase would say!
The story is a straight up detective novel, in the English crime tradition of Agatha Christie with a touch of J H Chase while elaborating on the shady characters, deceit, lust and greed that pervades the world of high glamour and big money.
We open the narrative following the death of supermodel Lula Landry (affectionately nicknamed Cuckoo), whose apparent suicide has the press in frenzy. Three months later, private detective Cormoran Strike is asked by her step brother to investigate if, in fact, Landry was pushed from her balcony, thus cold bloodedly murdered by someone and made it conveniently look like suicide.
The hero is an ex-war veteran, one–legged with prosthetic support, whose own personal life has been just wrecked by a breakup and is so broke that he sleeps in his small dinghy office.
He is blessed to have a smart, thinking-on-feet secretary Robin who provides able support despite being wild-eyed with admiration of his deductive /detective skills, so much so that she takes on her fiancé to support her employer.
The investigation takes some 400+ interesting pages (I read the e-book version), well paced and with some twists and turns to keep one turning pages.
But the 70’s familiar Hindi film theme of jaaydaad ( property) rears its head again and you are surprised , in this day and age!
But seasoned mystery novel readers (like me) won’t have to wait too long with bated breath to know the truth, they will ‘do it’ 3/4ths of the way through…But for the modus operandi of death, you will have to wait till the last pages…Good enough…in fact, very good!
This marks literally a new ‘chapter’ for the author Rowling…We couldn’t care what pseudonym she wrote under, as long as such good ones keep coming at regular intervals.
PS: It reminds you of a Chase novel of 50s:‘Lay her among the Lilies’ among others, very much!
Recommended: Oh, Yes!
Rating : 4/5