March 2017 – I Struck Gold with Cormoran Strike!
Like millions of other people around the world, I very much enjoyed J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. But for some reason, while I was aware they existed, I was a little slower to pick up her series of crime novels for adults under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, centered around private detective Cormoran Strike and his intrepid offsider Robyn Ellacott. Then a couple of friends recommended them in the strongest possible terms, so I decided to give them a go!
And I’m so glad I did!
In the last month, I’ve devoured all three books (and they’re longish!) and I’m desperate for the next installment. Unfortunately, I can’t find any news about book 4 so far, but I’ll keep looking.
The central character (and hero because really he IS a hero) is ex-army policeman Cormoran Strike. Strike is an incredibly interesting character – a decorated soldier who lost a leg in Afghanistan; and the bastard son of a legendary rock star who doesn’t want anything to do with him. His mother was a super-groupie who died in suspicious circumstances of a drug overdose. So lots of room for darkness and complexity in Cormoran.
Due to an administrative mix-up at a temp agency, he ends up taking on Robyn Ellacott, a pretty and – and on the surface at least – much more together girl just down from Yorkshire and making her way in the big city. Robyn has always wanted to be a detective and proves herself surprisingly adept at this new life so, much to the disapproval of her pompous fiance Matthew, she ends up inveigling her way into a permanent spot in Cormoran’s office.
The stage is set for an intriguing series of mysteries set in London – the use of setting is masterly. We see every side of the British capital from its glamorous heights to its seediest underbelly. As someone who knows and loves the city, I get an extra layer of enjoyment from how place informs story in these books.
In book 1, The Cuckoo’s Calling, Cormoran’s detective agency is failing badly. He’s not far from closing the doors and declaring himself bankrupt, when enthusiastic, clever, resourceful Robyn lands on his doorstep (well, actually at his secretary’s desk). They become involved in investigating the death of a supermodel Lula Landry which has been declared a suicide by the police. Her half-brother is convinced this can’t be true, especially as he has information about witnesses that were either ignored or dismissed at the time of Lula’s death.
Because he desperately needs the money, Strike reluctantly takes on the case, but he’s sure the police have it right. But then small niggles of doubt emerge as he probes deeper into Lula’s short, tragic, fast-paced life. Now Strike is on a collision course with the powers-that-be–and a ruthless murderer. Ooh, high stakes!
I couldn’t put this down. It grabs you by the throat and you just keep turning those pages until you get to the exciting ending. Highly recommended.
Book 2, The Silkworm, is based around London’s literary culture, something the author knows well. We cover every level from the most successful to people on the far fringes of the publishing world. Cormoran, who thanks to the Lula Landry case, is now London’s detective of choice, receives a visit from novelist Owen Quine’s downtrodden wife and accepts what looks to be a simple missing persons case. The problem is Quine turns up not long afterward, the victim of a bizarre and ritualistic murder, and the manuscript he wrote just before his death is set to create havoc among the literati. And Strike, who is trying to mend fences after making a fool of the police in his last big case, finds himself in opposition to them again when they arrest Mrs. Quine for her husband’s killing.
One of the joys of this one is watching the relationship between Strike and Robyn change as he comes to realize just what a treasure that temp agency sent him by mistake. And both are doing their best to ignore their unspoken and unwelcome sexual attraction. Strike doesn’t want to muck up a great working relationship with Robyn, not to mention he’s getting over a long and destructive relationship of his own, and Robyn is convinced she’s still in love with the horrible Matthew, so the sexual tension just bubbles away under the surface adding a nice zing to proceedings.
Book 3, Career of Evil, is definitely the creepiest of the three. When Robyn receives a woman’s sawn-off leg in the post, all hell breaks loose at Strike’s detective agency and his short-lived financial security goes west once again. A serial killer is at work among London’s vulnerable women, and it’s pretty clear that he’s a serial killer with a grudge against Cormoran Strike. The problem is that there are three likely perpetrators from Strike’s past, and the police, smarting from previous humiliations, refuse to pay attention to Strike’s warnings. This serial killer has also worked out that Robyn is the closest thing Strike has to a girlfriend right now, and losing her would hit him hard. Given what a wonderful character she is, I spent a lot of the book in a lather of fear that one of these truly vile suspects was going to do her in. And all the time, Robyn’s wedding looms closer and closer…
If you’re looking for a modern take on the classic detective novel, you really couldn’t do better than these books. If you haven’t read them, give them a go!
- March 2017 – I Struck Gold with Cormoran Strike
- February 2017 – Crazy for Christie!
- January 2017 – Call Me for Call the Midwife
- December 2016 – Recent Revelatory Reading Part 4
- November 2016 – Recent Revelatory Reading Part 3
- October 2016 – Recent Revelatory Reading Part 2
- September 2016 – Recent Revelatory Reading Part 1
- August 2016 – Amazing Maisie!
- July 2016 – (Upstate) New York! New York!
- June 2016 – Calling for Cadfael!
- May 2016 – Raving about Rickman!
- April 2016 – The Queen of Romance!
- March 2016 – Ground Control to Major Tom
- February 2016 – Aunt Dimity Dazzles
- January 2016 – This Adventurous Life Part 2
- December 2015 – This Adventurous Life Part 1
- November 2015 – There Will Be Trouble Ahead
- October 2015 – It Would Be a Crime to Miss the Sir Robert Carey Mysteries!
- September 2015 – Absolute Vicky Bliss!
- August 2015 – Lady Is Excellent!
- July 2015 – Fresh as a Daisy!
- June 2015 – We Seek Him Here, We Seek Him There
- May 2015 – What Regency Charmers!
- April 2015 – It’s For the Birds (part 2) – the other guys
- March 2015 – It’s For the Birds (part 1) – black and white beauties
- February 2015 – Romance, History, Ghosts Are My Favorite Things
- January 2015 – There’s Got to be Heyer Love! (Part 2)
- December 2014 – There’s Got to be Heyer Love! (Part 1)
- November 2014 – Home, Home on the Range
- October 2014 – I Like it Hot!
- September 2014 – A Tribute to Lauren Bacall
- August 2014 – I’d Get Up With The Lark to Watch This
- July 2014 – Garbo Laughed – and so do I!
- June 2014 – Blast from the Past
- May 2014 – Phryne’s Roaring 20s
- April 2014 – Peabody + Peters = Egyptian Magic
- March 2014 – Cool Cats!
- February 2014 – It’s No Mystery
- January 2014 – Thank You, Mr O’Toole
- December 2013 – The Sea, The Sea
- November 2013 – Makes You Proud to be a Romance Writer
- October 2013 – The Queen of the Sea (Part 2)
- September 2013 – The Queen of the Sea (Part 1)
- August 2013 – French Kisses to Bruno
- July 2013 – Elementary, My Dear Sherlock
- June 2013 – The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring, Tra La… (Part 2)
- May 2013 – The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring, Tra La… (Part 1)
- April 2013 – ARRC is Definitely One of My Favourite Things!
- March 2013 – Francis is a Frontrunner
- February 2013 – Weekend at the Windsor
- January 2013 – China in England in Melbourne
- December 2012 – GenreCon Rocks!
- November 2012 – Pandora Rocks the Flying Dutchman
- October 2012 – Just on the QT…
- September 2012 – Worth Every Penny
- August 2012 – 80s Hair Bands Galore (Pt 2)
- July 2012 – 80s Hair Bands Galore (Pt 1)
- June 2012 – Swans + Lake = Magic
- May 2012 – Enchanted by the Enchanted Forest
- April 2012 – Klimt Every Mountain
- March 2012 – Better Leighton Than Never (Pt 2)
- February 2012 – Better Leighton Than Never (Pt 1)
- January 2012 – Hitchcock is Hot (Pt 2)
- December 2011 – Hitchcock is Hot (Pt 1)
- November 2011 – I Carried a Watermelon…
- October 2011 – Fun in Tropical Melbourne
- September 2011 – Ghosts are the New Black
- August 2011 – Jumping for Judy!
- July 2011 – I Wish I Had Haddon Hall
- June 2011 – I Wish I Own Iona!
- May 2011 – I Want to be the Next Enid Blyton
- April 2011 – Attenborough is THE MAN!
- March 2011 – Speaking Frankly
- February 2011 – Those Long, Hot Mills and Boon Summers…
- January 2011 – Memories of Aotearoa
- December 2010 – I Do Love a Good Show Tune (Pt 4)
- November 2010 – I Do Love a Good Show Tune (Pt 3)
- October 2010 – I Do Love a Good Show Tune (Pt 2)
- September 2010 – We Interrupt our Scheduled Program…
- August 2010 – I Do Love a Good Show Tune (Pt 1)
- July 2010 – Man, That’s Epic!
- June 2010 – What the DIckens!
- May 2010 – Hey, Mr Postman!
- April 2010 – Postcards From the Edge
- March 2010 – A Castle in Spain
- February 2010 – Ravishing Rottnest Island
- January 2010 – The Wonderful West
- December 2009 – More Happy Snaps
- November 2009 – Happy Snaps
- October 2009 – A Big Country Needs a Big Story
- September 2009 – Horsies!
- August 2009 -The National Gallery of Art Rocks!
- July 2009 – All Roads Lead To Rome
- June 2009 – I Wanna Dance in the Pan Pacifics with Fran!
- May 2009 – A River that Never Runs Dry
- April 2009 – The Lust of the Mohicans
- March 2009 – Big Easy To Love
- February 2009 – My Heart’s In The Highlands
- January 2009 – You Kent Do Better Than This!
- December 2008 – A Salute to Anne Stuart
- November 2008 – Scaling the TBR Pile
- October 2008 – Conference Time!
- September 2008 – I left My Heart in San Francisco
- August 2008 – Favorite Research Books (part 3)
- July 2008 – Favorite Research Books (part 2)
- June 2008 – Favorite Research Books (part 1)
- May 2008 – My Favorite Comfort Read
- April 2008 – I’m Ready For My Close-up, Mr DeMille!
- March 2008 – Can You Hear What I Hear?
- February 2008 – 10 Things I Love about 10 Things I Hate About You
- January 2008 – Think I’m Turning Japanese!
- December 2007 – Happy Talk
- November 2007 – The Terrific Trio
- October 2007 – The Fridge of Inspiration
- September 2007 – Move Over, Darling!
- August 2007 – It’s the Chalice from the Palace in Dallice…
- July 2007 – Anticipation: Is It the Best Part of Travel?
- June 2007 – Bad Luck That Really Wasn’t So Bad After All
- May 2007 – A Movie That Steals Your Heart
- April 2007 – The Romance Community
- March 2007 – The Pleasures of Re-Reading
- February 2007 – Favorite Blogs (part 2)
- January 2007 – Favorite Blogs