In the epic fifth installment in this “compulsively readable” (People) series, Galbraith’s “irresistible hero and heroine” (USA Today) take on the decades-old cold case of a missing doctor, one which may be their grisliest yet.
Private Detective Cormoran Strike is visiting his family in Cornwall when he is approached by a woman asking for help finding her mother, Margot Bamborough—who went missing in mysterious circumstances in 1974.
Strike has never tackled a cold case before, let alone one forty years old. But despite the slim chance of success, he is intrigued and takes it on; adding to the long list of cases that he and his partner in the agency, Robin Ellacott, are currently working on. And Robin herself is also juggling a messy divorce and unwanted male attention, as well as battling her own feelings about Strike.
As Strike and Robin investigate Margot’s disappearance, they come up against a fiendishly complex case with leads that include tarot cards, a psychopathic serial killer and witnesses who cannot all be trusted. And they learn that even cases decades old can prove to be deadly . . .
In Galbraith's superb fifth novel featuring London PI Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott (after 2018's Lethal White), his two leads land a cold case while dealing with major personal problems: the aunt who raised Strike is dying of cancer, and Robin is going through a painful divorce. In 1974, GP Margot Bamborough walked out of her London practice to meet a friend, and was never seen again. The case was originally assigned to Det. Insp. Bill Talbot, who believed Bamborough fell victim to a serial killer, Dennis Creed, but Talbot suffered a mental breakdown while pursuing that theory. Creed, who was arrested in 1976 after a failed abduction attempt, refused to say whether he snatched Bamborough. Almost four decades later, the doctor's daughter, who was one at the time of her mother's disappearance, persuades Strike to try to solve the mystery. As Strike and Robin follow up the slimmest leads and seek to trace any living witnesses, Galbraith (the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling) never loses sight of the tragedy at the heart of the assignment. The painstaking, prosaic investigative work keeps the reader engaged for the duration of this doorstopper. Galbraith will surely have lost some fans due to a controversy that preceded the book's publication, with critics calling the novel transphobic because Creed had dressed as a woman while committing some of his crimes. Those still in the author's camp, though, will likely consider this to be the best series entry to date.
Unpredictable. Real page-turner
Best book so far in this series. Huge novel, starts slow. The way several story lines are interwoven builds over time. I finished the second half of this book in two days. Couldn’t put it down!
This entire novel is based on Rowling’s transphobia. If I could give it zero stars, I would.