Cuckoo Calling

Sep 07, 2013, 07:05 IST | Kanika Sharma

The motif of dual conflicted identities should have belied JK Rowling and her writing especially in the context of The Cuckoo's Calling

From Harry Potter to the latest, the mega billion author has been the stuff of a fairytale story, marketing mechanics and a put-downable by Goodreads (think, Casual Vacancy). So when worldwide, the trumpet of the times -- Twitter, heralded a mystery beyond the detective novel that she had penned, readers of all sizes and callings pounced on escalating the sales’ figures unravelling the Rowling bestseller touch.

Author with the pseudonym: JK Rowling PIC COURTESY/GETTY

The book definitely arouses conflicted readings post the revelation and/or controversy yet replicates the dramatic opening structure often heralded with death (Casual Vacancy, most of the Harry Potter series and even the one in question). In this one, we witness the death of a supermodel, Lula Landry, whose history including the crucial day before her death, is riddled with many theories and origins and could be featured in any of the headlines one flits through these days.

Counterpoised is Robin, a young attractive secretary from Yorkshire who has just been betrothed to her fiancé who walks elated on the streets of London, unknown to the morass she is going to be drawn in to. It is through Robin’s eyes that we meet a no-gooder dishevelled detective Cormoran Strike who has exited an engagement and is living out of his shabby office where Robin walks in to work as a temp.

As John Bristow -- brother of Strike’s earlier schoolmate and Lula Landry a.k.a Cuckoo -- saunters in to appoint Strike for a life-changing case, the plot thickens. The book is a speedy read that has its moments of linearity and masked moments too. Most of the main characters sport camouflaged undersides to them, hooking the reader to detect if it is a suicide after all. The Cuckoo’s Calling is unconventional and rewarding in its revelation more so as Cormoran Strike is exactly like the book’s trajectory, seemingly plain and elementary.

With the emotional quotient woven in and a detective that refuses to act smart plus hardly divulges anything, the adrenaline kicks in like a drug, as is Rowling’s wont in the second half.

The Cuckoo’s Calling, JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, Sphere Books, R599. Available at leading bookstores

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