The Cuckoo’s Calling, Robert Galbraith
Whether strategically planned or not, J. K. Rowling’s ‘outing’ as the pen behind the name Robert Galbraith has netted her three different categories of reader: Harry Potter/Rowling fans; crime fans; and the downright curious. From someone in this last category comes the news that The Cuckoo’s Calling is a perfectly enjoyable way of whiling away some summer hours. The characters lift nicely off the page, there is detail enough to set any given scene colourfully before you, and now and again a line gives the impression that Rowling might have a satisfyingly sly sense of humour. As to the plot – model dies in fall from balcony: suicide or murder? – well, think Monday evening ITV Drama rather than Saturday night BBC Nordic Noir and you’ve got it. It’s giving nothing away to say that the last line of the book is a quote from Tennyson: ‘I am become a name’. If Rowling really did intend to try to forge a new success for herself anonymously, what better line to offer up to an unsuspecting public as her own private joke. The line still works following the big reveal, but if she was in on the plan, it now becomes quite cynical. Here at The Company of Books, we prefer to think that she wasn’t. Sit back and and listen to the cuckoo; you’re in capable hands.