When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside. And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been – Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much more tricky than that… [Description from Waterstones]
Series – Cormoran Strike #4
I actually didn’t enjoy this one as much as I expected to – and I really really wanted to give it a 5-star review! I felt that the story was dominated by Robin and Matthew’s relationship, and I really don’t like Matthew as a character – I think he’s controlling and takes advantage of Robin’s history and her fears to keep her close.
I’m also not sure how I feel about Cormoran and Robin’s developing relationship. I loved their building relationship particularly in Cuckoo’s Calling, when they were finding their feet with each other and focused on the investigation. Cuckoo’s Calling remains my favourite of the Cormoran Strike novels because it focused on the crime itself and the business rather than personal relationships, which I think Galbraith does better.
However, I do really like the way things are described – it is easy to picture what is being described, especially as Robin and Cormoran are exactly as I pictured them in the recent TV series featuring Holliday Grainger and Tom Burke. The locations are also clearly described using all the senses – touch, taste, smell, sound and sight – and really come alive in my mind, so it is even easier to imagine the events being described as being real and actually happening.
‘Lethal White’ didn’t have the same impact on me as previous books – I can clearly remember the crimes committed in the first three books, but even just two months after reading the book I am struggling to remember what happened in ‘Lethal White’. What sticks out for me was the destruction of Robin and Matthew’s relationship and the awkwardness of the relationship between Robin and Cormoran. There is little else which sticks in my memory, including secondary characters, which makes this the most disappointing so far of Robert Galbraith’s novels, because I have come to expect so much more.
The novel is still worth a read for those who have read the first three books in the series, and especially if you are planning on carrying on reading – I hope this is just a blip and that Galbraith will be back on top form next time. Let’s face it, busy with the screenplay for Crimes of Grindelwald and that is a fabulous film!