Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K Rowling: An Engrossing Mystery Novel

Author: Sherry Helms

1308160502306yS49k38The Cuckoo’s Calling is a Debut crime fiction penned by J. K. Rowling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. This is an elegant suspense novel in a classic vein steeped in the atmosphere of London featuring a hard-luck private investigator- Cormoran Strike who lost his half-leg in Afghan War; his recently engaged rich and smart Secretary Robin Ellacotto; and an ostensibly cultured but anxious new client named John Bristow, the adopted brother of famous young supermodel Lula Landry.

John walks through Strike’s door with a startling story that the death of his sister Lula Landry, known to her friends as Cuckoo, who fell down from the third-floor of the “five-star” Mayfair apartment, is not a suicide but a murder. Initially dubious and reluctant to reopen the case, Strike takes on the case only to relieve the damage on his stressed finances. However, this case plunges him into the posh world of multimillionaire supermodels, estranged wives, desperate fashion designers, odious film producers, and rock-star boyfriends. Each person whom Strike encounters tells their recollections of Lula that makes him to realize that the events surrounding Lula’s death are more confusing than he imagined.

Although the book received many favorable reviews in various trade publications, yet the sales remained fewer than 1,500 copies. However, after the revelation of the true identity of its author (J.K. Rowling) on 14 July 2013, the succeeding publicity of the book is instantly surged from non-selling murkiness into worldwide best-seller.

Unlike her Harry Potter series that hold a lot of magic and numerous wizards or witches and tackled good and evil, The Cuckoo’s Calling by the world-renowned storyteller Ms. Rowling is based on the mundane issues, like midlife crises, class envy, the pressures of fame, and the social anthropology of modern London. It reads very much like Rowling wants to try something different from her routine writing for her own pleasure.

The things that make the story more compelling still are the characterizations, and particularly a charming protagonist, who’s in no doubt to be the leading light of many sequels to come. Rowling has done an excellent job of infusing main character with enough unselfconscious appeal that it does work. The portrayal of Strike and Robin in contrasts of the London life is subtly masterful.

With this highly entertaining murder mystery novel, Rowling takes us on an exciting ride of London where we see the affluent and famous alongside the downtrodden. She not only portrays through her novel the world of chic parties and stylish possessions but also the sordid world of poverty- a world that she had lived in while she wrote her first Harry Potter novel. She represents each scene with as much information as possible in order to give the reader an opportunity to experience the London’s very old charm.

On the whole, Ms. Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling is an entertaining read that prove to be utterly convincing in its portrayal of different aspects of this world. Moreover, the tightly moulded plotline, well-chosen dialogues, and all the social content with lots of twists and suspense make the story intriguing.

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