The Cuckoo's Calling
by Robert Galbraith
The Cuckoo’s Calling introduces Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling’s detective Cormoran Strike. How does he compare to other literary detectives? In our experience, there are (broadly) two types of literary detective. The first type are patently ludicrous, but a lot of fun. Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot are among the best known examples, but Simon Brett’s Charles Paris or MC Beaton’s Agatha Raisin are also wonderfully ridiculous detectives. The second type aim to be ‘real’ characters. We are still expected to suspend disbelief, but there’s a basic aim to make a believable character we can identify with. In that aim, crime novelists rarely succeed. One detective might like jazz, another poetry, but they’re pretty generic. Not so Cormoran Strike. He is a memorable detective, with a character that sticks with you (in our mind, he looks like the actor Robbie Coltrane).
As the first in the series, The Cuckoo’s Calling is one of the best, also introducing Robin Ellacott, the Yorkshire woman who starts the book as Strike’s temp. In the audiobook, actor Robert Glenister is excellent at narrating her Yorkshire accent and, like Strike, she seems like a real person.