Not Harry Potter!

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J.K.  Rowland, writing under the name Robert Galbraith, has published a series of mysteries featuring a big, fat, and hairy private eye named Cormoran Strike who is also missing half of one leg.  Rowling demonstrates her talent as a writer by gradually making the character’s admirable qualities shine through in spite of the possibly negative aspects of his appearance.  He’s smart, honest, and brave, and also meticulous and hard working, traits that served him well while working as an investigator in the army.   It was during his army service in Afghanistan that he lost the missing part of his leg.

The second aspect of Rowling’s talent lies in the intricate plotting.  The Cuckoo’s Calling, the first book in the series of (so far) three, published in 2013, involves the mystery surrounding the life and death of a young super-model.  Simultaneously with unraveling the mystery Strike acquires a lovely secretary/assistant who is engaged to an accountant.  I assume that before this series ends she’ll change her mind.

I’m a Harry Potter fan and loved the way Rowling created a consistent magical world, but all her talent and imagination couldn’t suspend the laws of physics forever – there were certainly places where it didn’t all hang together.  The advantage of limiting herself to the real world is that she is never left with circumstances that can’t possibly be explained.

 

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