Rowling’s gripping murder mystery


By Sanskriti Singh

The Cuckoo’s Calling written by J K Rowling in 2013 and published under the pseudonym Robert Gilbraith is a wonderful crime fiction to read. It is wonderfully entertaining though there is nothing amazingly original.
Cormoran Strike is a wounded war veteran with a chequered past and damaged love life. Financial woes trouble him.He sleeps in his office. He left the army that provided him the lifestyle that his mother could never give him.He sets up a private detective agency but the only problem is lack of clients with deep pockets.
Then comes the temporary secretary Robin Ellacott, with a slightly stuffy fiancé and a secret dream to become a detective. Both Strike and Robin are fully fleshed out characters that we care for at the end of the novel.
The crime that he is to investigate is the suicide of a super model Lula Landry.
A man with a complicated father and a confusing girlfriend, both of whom could do the worst to hurt him, finds a case that involves a woman with similar problems where her people can hurt her in any way to gain her property. The novel is full of old values and simple realisations.
Lula is adopted by a wealthy family and her adopted brother is a money-minded man who for wealth can do anything.
As Strike sets out to investigate the suicide case we are introduced to an elaborate cast – an effeminate dress designer, a drug taking paparazzi avoiding boyfriend, a disgruntled ‘wannabee’ film star chauffeur, an elderly, dying mother, disapproving family members, etc.
The girl wanders to look for her biological mother and finds a woman unaffected by any human emotions.
The author creates a realistic scenario with London almost becoming an extra character as Strike walks the streets and a satisfactory plot with a good cast of suspects. The element of suspense remains intact till the end of the story and the plot unfolds gradually.
“Unhappy is he whose fame makes his misfortunes famous.” Lula was such a character that her fame made her misfortunes of having a broken family and a sad life famous. She was suffering quietly the complications of her life.
But the most gripping character here is that of Cormoran Strike, the detective. A good start for a crime novel reads this year.
This novel begins slowly from a simple complicated man to a mysterious murder case. The author has done an excellent job diverting the thoughts of the readers from the real killer. I really admire the cover of the book as it complements the story line. Finally the end is beautiful here with the lines that keep wavering in my mind.:
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink/Life to the less; all times I have enjoyed/Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those/That loved me, and alone; on shore and when/Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades/Next the dim sea: I am become a name…

Book: The Cuckoo’s Calling; Author: Robert Gilbraith (JK Rowling); Publisher: Sphere; Pages: 550; Price: Rs 499

(The author is a student of  Loreto Convent)