Galbraith, Robert. The Cuckoo’s Calling. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Apr. 2013. 464p. ISBN 9780316206846. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780316206860. M
Lula Landry, a celebrity model rumored to have a drug problem, falls to her death one snowy night. Even though the police rule it a suicide, Lula’s brother asks struggling London PI Cormoran Strike to investigate. Cormoran knows what he’s up against: the rich are famously good at blockading information sharing. Nonetheless, he and his new assistant, Robin, forge an effective partnership as they interview fashion insiders, jealous boyfriends, and dysfunctional family members. The results are devastating. Cormoran’s own celebrity roots and status as a wounded veteran (he lost his leg in Afghanistan) color a fascinating tale that explores the lifestyles of the rich and the unhappy. VERDICT Laden with plenty of twists and distractions, this debut ensures that readers will be puzzled and totally engrossed for quite a spell. Galbraith’s take on contemporary celebrity obsession makes for a grand beach read. It’s like a mash-up of Charles Dickens and Penny Vincenzi.