For those who don’t yet know, Robert Galbaith is the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books. I read the first one and had I been 10 instead of 40 when I read it I would have been a total fan. Fact is, I read the one and put them down. I’ve since rethought that and contemplated reading them all. I’ve seen no movies (fwiw).
I did read The Casual Vacancy (J.K. Rowling) and am now working my way through whatever she comes up with as Robert Galbraith. This is the 4th novel in the Cormoran Strike series. And YES they should definitely be read in order – there is an underlying relationship between Strike and Robini which winds its tortured way through the novels. It hasn’t actually turned romantic so far but … (would that ruin it?)
by Robert Galbraith
2018 / 656 pages
read by Robert Glenister – 22h 31m
rating: A+ / crime – private detective team
I loved the first three books. The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and Career of Evil.
they were so full of surprises. (links to my reviews). I looked forward to Lethal White from before it had a title. Alas, what a disappointment.
I think Galbraith tried to pack so much into it that my interest as well as the tension got a little lost.
The book is so long (22 1/2 hours is a LONG time) and packed with so many different threads, bth old and new or mystery related or not, there is never much room for real reader involvement – there wasn’t for me anyway. There are so many characters I started keeping notes. I quit that but it did help with the first half of the book.
Starting with Robin’s unfortunate marriage to Matthew the plot starts out almost right off with a strange mentally ill man crashing into Strike’s office where a temporary receptionist is working as receptionist. This man, Billy, reveals some disturbing information before he disappears. Robin returns from her honeymoon and she and Strike plus Sam, a newly hired part-time detective, start a hunt for whatever it was Billy was talking about; something about a child being strangled and buried somewhere. Billy left a little note which gets Robin and Strike started.
That search is the beginning of the main plot which comes to include the offices of Parliament and a manor in rural England, a seriously dysfunctional family, a bit of blackmail, and finally, half way through this 650-page novel, the actual murder of one of the characters.
En route the lives and pasts of Strike, with all his girlfriends, and Robin, who now has PTSD are updated along with the ongoing relationships between Robin and Matthew or Strike and Robin. There is also quite a lot of politics involved in this story.
Still, the core plot, a rather old-fashioned kind of thing, is well thought out and nicely executed, It feels a little like an English mystery of the olden days even though it’s quite firmly set in 2012 England with all the commotion about the Olympics.
A rather meaty and intriguing quote from Henrik Ibsen’s play Rosmersholm (1886) precedes each chapter. I’ve included a bit of a description below and I’m really tempted to give it a listen on Libravox.
Rosmersholm by Henrik Ibsen (from Wikipedia)
The theme of the play is social and political change, in which the traditional ruling classes relinquish their right to impose their ideals on the rest of society, but the action is entirely personal, resting on the conduct of the immoral, or amoral, “free thinking” heroine, Rebecca, who sets herself to undermine Rosmer’s religious and political beliefs because of his influential position in the community. Rebecca has abandoned not only Christianity but, unlike Rosmer, she has abandoned the whole ethical system of Christianity as well. Possibly she may be taken as Ibsen’s answer to the question of whether or not Christian ethics can be expected to survive the death of the Christian religion.