Troubled Blood

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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 recent 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 them, and…

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 here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Last Modified 2024-01-16 10:45 AM EDT