It starts with a Private Eye: invalided from the army, down on his luck and a gorgeous woman with questionable morals slamming the door on his face. Then there’s the smart and efficient good-looking blonde. Together, they solve murders.
J.K. Rowling has a talent for using le mot juste. Her captivating writing style worked wonderfully in the magical world of Harry Potter, and is still magical without the wands. Agatha Christie is one of my favourite authors in the “murder mystery” genre primarily because she presents the problem as a puzzle to be solved instead of a gruesome crime committed by a twisted mind. [“It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within–not without.” ~ Poirot]
Rowling’s detective stories are more The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo than Sherlock Holmes. She explores the darker impulses of human nature. Her depraved villains and imperfect heroes make you rethink Voldemort and Dumbledore, and that’s where her strength lies, in rich character sketches. The denouement, however, leaves much to be desired for a murder mystery. There is no flourish of Poirot or the unveiling of a nefarious villain of Holmes, instead it is a statement of Strike’s epiphany and his laying of a trap. If you love solving a mystery with cleverly littered clues, these books will be a disappointment as the perpetrator is fairly obvious towards the end. If you enjoy intriguing characters and the thrill of the chase, this series delivers both in ample measure.