Well, first of all, it's long. Very, very long: the final page number is 927.
This is the fifth book in Galbraith's "Cormoran Strike" series. Previous entries
were (according to Amazon) 464, 455, 497, and 656 paages. I detect a trend…
Yes, the most receent Strike book is 210 pages. (For non-geeks: 1024.)
The mainline plot is pretty straightforward: 40 years previous, Dr. Margot Bamborough left
her practice to meet with a friend at a pub, but never showed. And vanished without a trace.
Cormoran Strike and his now-partner Robin Ellacott are hired by Margot's adult daughter
to find out what happened. And they decide to take on this very very cold case. And estimate
that it will take about a year to deliver results, if there are any.
And it takes a little more than that.
There is one obvious suspect: a depraved serial killer, since apprehended, who was operating
in the area at the time. But Strike and Robin need to be diligent, so they investigate Margot's
family, her co-workers, her acquaintances. And, since many of them have passed away in the previous
decades, their family/co-workers/acquaintances get interviewed. Add in a few witnesses, who didn't see much.
(Or did they?) And also
the investigating cops at the time; one of those turns out to have been sucked into mental illness coupled with astrological
weirdness, and his investigatory notes are an incoherent scramble of zodiac signs, satanism,
and allusions to the uber-weirdo Aleister Crowley.
So there's a lot to do. But that's not all! Strike and Robin live soap-opera lives, so there's
a lot more happening with his family (a dying aunt, an estranged father, a suicidal ex-fiance) and hers (an unfaithful husband who's
dragging out the divorce proceedings. Illnesses and injuries occur.
The Strike/Ellacott agency has other active investigations,
and we learn about those, and the subcontractors assigned to do what when, and conflicts between
And there's the relationship between Strike and Robin, which is developing into … something.
Some people like this stuff. Well, judging by the success of the series, a lot of people
like this stuff. I could have done without it.
That said, however, the ending is quite satisfying. (Or maybe it was just relief.)
And (by the way) this winds up a mini-reading project for me: I've read all
the Wall Street Journal
best mysteries of 2020. Yay!
My previous reports are