So why do I read the Strike books if I’m not a fan of her writing? Easy. Tom Burke plays the lead in the TV adaptations and with it he has brought an interesting, complex character to life, one full of charm, charisma, and sparkle. I’ve become invested in the character; I want to know what the next instalment is about and what the future holds for Strike. So, for me to keep up with Strike, and to not feel like I’m wasting any of my day, I turned to Audible books for both Lethal White and Troubled Blood. This way I could go for a walk or do chores and “read” at the same time.
Chekov or Hemingway?
Anyone familiar with Chekov will undoubtedly remember his principal “If in Act One you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act.” As we enter Strikes world for the fifth time, we find him in Cornwall, visiting his terminally ill aunt, and catching up with his oldest friend Dave Polworth in the pub. The question of marriage arises, and in the defence of marriage, Polworth quotes from another Russian literary giant, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. With Strike coming back to his childhood “home” Cornwall and all the people he loved there, Robin dealing with a long and acrimonious divorce, and Strike’s ex Charlotte causing him no end of emotional reckoning, surely the poignant quote must have a bearing by the end of the novel. Or is JKR following Hemingway, whereby inconsequential details are just part of the plot?
In a departure for Strike and Robin, they take on the 40-year-old cold case of a doctor who mysteriously vanished one night. The client gives Strike a year to solve the case, and what a year it will be for both Cormoran and Robin. Many of the original witnesses for the case are dead, and for those still alive, how accurate will their memory of events be? Looking through the notes of the original chief detective on the case, it was apparent he was suffering with his mental health. Were his notes a sign of madness, or was there something more to his readings of tarot and astrological charts?