Extra star awarded by me for the setting (the publishing world) – which I found delightfully amusing – but I can recognize that not every reader might agree. I think that the celebrity/model murder of the first installment of the Cormoran Strike series might have a wider appeal.
This volume also establishes beyond doubt JK Rowling’s decision to keep this series firmly within the conventions of the mystery genre. Cormoran continues as the angsty investigator with a sense of justice, and Robin as his smart, beautiful and somewhat-underappreciated assistant. However, just as in the first book, the writing elevates the book above the average.
Cormoran’s P.I. business has gotten more popular since his high-profile solving of the murder described in ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling.’ However, when a seemingly not-well-heeled woman comes in asking Cormoran to investigate her husband’s disappearance, some indefinable instinct impels him to take on the case. The missing man is an eccentric writer, with wayward habits. His wife assumes he’s at a writers’ retreat – or maybe off with his girlfriend. However, the investigation reveals that the writer’s most recent – unpublished – manuscript had nasty things to say about just about everyone in his circle – and there’s a surfeit of individuals who may have had a grudge against him.