My sweet sister-in-law (she is a really nice lady, book or no book) gave me a copy of The Cuckoo’s Calling in Norwegian. The Norwegian title is Når Gjøken Galer. Therefore, my first comment goes to the translation. Heidi Grinde did an excellent job.
Robert Galbraith’s chances of falling from the heights of my expectations were huge. But you know, this is English mystery at its best. If you are a fan of the kind of mystery with little violence, little sex, tricks to fool the reader (both worked and did not work with me) and an explanation by the detective in the best of Christie tradition, then this is the book for you. I am one of those fans.
Strike (Cormoran Strike) is NOT anything like a James Bond character. Nor is he one of the bitter, cynical or alcoholic detectives that come and go in the fashions of writing. Instead I found Strike to be a likable hairy bear who was smart yet not a genius. His experiences as an investigator with the military police in Afghanistan had given him both the insight necessary for the work of a private investigator and a prosthesis (lower leg). He is huge, hairy, and a bit over-weight (result of processing loss of leg). He has also just dumped his off-on fiancè and is waiting for her to get her revenge.
In this manner I guess we could lob Cormoran Strike in with the beleaguered type of detective who has plenty on his plate already. Strike’s business isn’t a roaring success and payment on the loan from his famous but seldom seen birth-father is due. Galbraith is stacking the odds against him in great author tradition without making Strike a ridiculous figure.
Robin Ellacott is Strike’s temporary assistant. They get off to a rocky start but Robin’s intelligent handling of both the assignments Strike gives her and her handling of the clients causes Strike to want to keep her on – if only he had the financial stability to do so. Robin has fun being a detective’s assistant. She does feel unappreciated at times but that is always the role of Watson or Hastings. Fortunately for her, Strike is neither a sociopath as Sherlock or full of himself like Poirot. Both Strike and Ellacott do bring their prejudices to the WORKING relationship causing interesting interactions.
I enjoyed the way both Robin and Carmoran became more comfortable with themselves and each other. No romance though – strictly working relationship.
The plot itself is as old as humanity – is my guess. Wanting what the other person has and a willingness to do anything to obtain it. It is strange, yet comforting, how people tend to tell the exact same stories all over the world and up through known history. In my experience, it seems the only thing that ever differs is the window-dressing. The window-dressing is the truly fun part, the part that enables me to explore words and talent. Authors are such a gift to society.
- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: Mulholland Books (April 30, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316206849
- ISBN-13: 978-0316206846
- Når Gjøken Galer
- Antall sider 496
- Oversetter: Heidi Grinde
- Originaltittel: The Cuckoo’s Calling