Michelle’s Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Michelle’s Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert GalbraithThe Cuckoo's Calling by jk rowling, robert galbraith, Robert GalbraithJ. K. Rowling
Published by Little, Brown on 2013-04-30
Genres: Crime, Fiction, General, Mystery & Detective
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Source: Public Library
A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Christina reviewed this first! Check out her review–we have different thoughts!

When the news broke last year that J.K. Rowling has written a book under a pseudonym, I was excited to read it. I read A Casual Vacancy, and was one of those in the “I liked it!” camp. I was expecting a similar reaction to The Cuckoo’s Calling. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite wow me like I was hoping it would.

Rowling writes in a way that if I had no prior knowledge as to the truth of her identity, I would have guessed it was someone new. It is written in a very hardboiled detective style. I read this at the same time I was listening to an Agatha Christie novel. Structurally speaking, the two were very similar. It may have tainted my opinion a bit, but I think it’s safe to say that in many ways, that’s the style Rowling was aiming for.

There is a scene in the beginning that truly exemplifies Rowling’s allusion to the Philip Marlowe’s of detective pulp fiction. Robin, a new temporary secretary, arrives at his office in a more wore down building. A beautiful woman has just rushed out of it (the femme fatale?). While Robin has a bit of a mishap at the top of the stairs due to Strike’s clumsiness, she finds Strike to be a massive guy with wounds on his face. He’s the private dic, the gumshoe. He is gruff, struggling financially, lives in his office, and smokes the occasional (or not so occasionally) cigarette. He has difficulty distinguishing between Robin and his latest temporary secretary at first. To me, all that was missing was a, “Hey, doll.”

The story was a series of interviews that led to its climax. At times it felt long and I was a little bored. That said, I still enjoyed the book and I think someone looking for a detective novel would not be disappointed by The Cuckoo’s Calling.

pj - michelle

Michelle’s Review: Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

Michelle’s Review: Evil Under the Sun by Agatha ChristieEvil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie
Published by HarperCollins on 2011-08-30
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Traditional British
Pages: 272
Format: Audiobook
Source: Public Library
The beautiful bronzed body of Arlena Stuart lay facedown on the beach. But strangely, there was no sun and Arlena was not sunbathing…she had been strangled. Ever since Arlena’s arrival the air had been thick with sexual tension. Each of the guests had a motive to kill her, including Arlena’s new husband. But Hercule Poirot suspects that this apparent “crime of passion” conceals something much more evil.

In a summer where I have yet to go on to the beach, pool, or equal body of water, Evil Under the Sun was the perfect summer getaway mystery. Hercule Poirot is not able to vacation for long at a Cornish beach resort when one of the resort’s guests is found strangled on the beach.

I listened to this audiobook and it was wonderful. Having the actor who plays Hercule Poirot in the television series was sucg a lovely bonus. And man, can he act! The different voices and accents he put on for the different characters was so engaging. When a character sneezed, he sneezed. It really brought the book more alive than other audiobook narrators.

There was something absolutely idyllic about the setting of this book (despite the murder) that really made me long for a similar vacation. Sailing, rowing, tennis, the pool, the ocean, books, food, caves, cliffs, and company…it really was the perfect book for summer (or when you’re longing for a real summer).

The plot itself was standard Christie. Not sure I quite understand its conclusion (I certainly didn’t see it coming) but it in no way took away any of my enjoyment of the book.

pj - michelle