Englischsprachige Literatur

Galbraith Robert (J.K. Rowling)

The Cuckoo´s Calling

Sphere, Little, Brown Book Group, London 2013


 After “Casual Vacancy” this is J. K. Rowling´s second not Harry Potter novel, this time a classic whodunit, based in London 2010.

From the start the reader is entralled by Rowling´s writing skills. She loves precious words, just like William Boyd, and creates authentic characters. With an ambitious literary motto for each chapter she is overdoing it a bit, though. It is a whodunit, after all.

Her hero P.I. Cormoran Strike has a conveniently troubled life as ex-soldier back from Afghanistan with only one leg, an ex-wife he still loves, a fragile economic situation and Robin, the temping secretary. So in no way he can refuse to take the case which Matthew Bristow, a wealthy lawyer, brings to him: Matthew´s half sister Lula Landry, the famous film star, fell from the balcony of her posh hotel. The police treat this as suicide, as Lula had mental and drug problems, but her brother does not believe this.

Rather doggedly Strike interviews all the relevant people, and this proves to be the strongest part of the book. Rowling loves to describe the glitterati and the down-and- out characters likewise in vivid, often comic, always satiric details and her view of this London society is not so dark, pessimistic as in “Casual Vacancy”. I think, the real hero of her story is Robin, who acts just as clever, circumspect and caring as Hermione does with Harry.

There is an elemental flaw in this detective story, sad to say. Seen from the end, the plot is just not convincing. But  like Harry, Cormoran and his writer will become stronger and more convincing with the next case.