(Of course, we all know by now that’s just an ill-advised pseudonym for J. K. Rowling…)
Hulking, disreputable-looking private eye Cormoran Strike is pretty much at the end of the road. His gorgeous girlfriend has kicked him out for the final time, he’s out of clients, he’s deeply in debt, and his prosthetic leg is giving him hell. As he contemplates living in his office, up the steps to his door comes comely and competent Robin, sent by a temp agency that assumes he wants to replace the departed secretary. Strike neglected to tell them he simply can’t afford one anymore.
Unnerved by the unexpected appearance of a pretty girl eager to work for a private investigator, Strike excuses himself to the back office. After pulling himself together, he marches back out to explain the mistake. But in the meantime, Robin has organized the desk, straightened the reception area, taken a few phone calls, and ushered in a well-heeled client.
Robin continues to make herself indispensable as Strike launches into his new case: the death of a supermodel, known informally to her cohorts as “Cuckoo,” that the police have ruled a suicide. Her brother hires Strike to prove it was murder.
|J. K. Rowling|
And so we enter both the glamorous and seamy side of London’s fashion scene. Interwoven subplots carry us off in all directions: family secrets, legal conflicts, suspicious friends and fans, scandal, etc. Rowling, as we well know, knows how to blindside her readers!
But the end is satisfying, even though issues remain unresolved with Robin’s fiancé. After all, it wouldn't be realistic if things were too tidy!
I would have to say that it’s a romping good read, even though the magic is missing. I never felt as pulled into this adventure as I was into Hogwarts. But then, there will never be the equal of Harry Potter.