Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Cuckoo's Calling the Silkworm

First, here's a secret everybody knows:  Robert Galbraith is a nom de plume for J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame.I had The Silkworm on my 2015 Challenge list, not realizing it was the second in the series.  When I found the first, The Cuckoo's Calling, as a ebook from the library, I figured I'd better start at the beginning.

I don't know if anyone was sure how an author at the heights of the coming-of-age fantasy novel would do in the whodunnit genre.  I thought she'd be well-suited, at least in one way, because if Harry Potter is anything, it is intricately plotted with a lot of interwoven details.

And you know what, Rowling really can do mysteries well.  The detective Cormoran Strike lives in a world suffused with sparkling detail.  You can't be sure you're reading about an observation because its going to be critical to the plot, or whether its simply an interesting description of London life.

What I am trying to say is that in a lot of books, you can figure out the mystery based on the way the book is structured or paced, without really having to decipher who did it based on the clues in the text.  This is not true in Rowling's books.

One thing that caught me off guard again and again - Cormoran comes into contact with quite a few criminal types with vulgar mouths, and its a bit like hearing your Mom cuss, to see that content in a Rowling book :)

I think Rowling is able to portray the lives of the super-rich a bit better than many authors, and also the trials and travails of fame.  Her rich & famous are rarely single-note snobs, even though they're often living in misery of their own making.

Final call:

Really, this is four and a half, because I just plain enjoyed the heck out of these books.

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