So this has been a really long time coming! But I’ve finally got around to reading this again, and with good timing, since the sequel, The Silkworm has just come out. A quick recap on what’s happened so far, a murder (or was it suicide) of Lula Landry, a world famous model, who was adopted into a rich white family, and now her brother is asking ex-military detective Coroman Strike to investigate. Meanwhile Robin has been asked to be his assistant.
Again we start with another quote: “No stranger to trouble myself, I am learning to care for the unhappy.” I always wonder how much analysis or thought should be given to these little quotes, did JK purposely put this one here, or did she just like this one, or wasn’t it her at all?
Immediately I can sense some clear Rowling influence here as Robin reads out a few articles on Lula Landry. We’re introduced to the impact of celebrities on young women. Specifically models and whether it’s really a good thing just how much girls idolise them (of course there isn’t that much good). And it’s not just that, it’s how the media portrays and hounds celebrities, a theme I think is going to be pertinent in this book many times (and perhaps inspired by The News of the World scandal which JK has been quite vocal about). Then there’s a brief discussion about mothers and having children removed from them.
Robin certainly has a knack for investigating, she’ll stick around, I mean why just have her here for a short time, unless… she’s the murderer! And I think I said this last time, I sort of share her excitement for detective work, but I doubt it’s always so exciting. But her work is creating some matrimonial tension since Matthew seems to be quite jealous of Robin’s joy. He thinks Strike is a fraud. Robin is definitely a little infatuated with her temporary career and the fact Strike is valuing her contribution. She certainly takes confidentiality seriously.
We get to start investigating, first outside the flats and its raising some good questions. Why isn’t there a topiary shrub on Lula’s floor? Obviously this is a murder and not suicide, but who’s responsible…? It’s all quite exciting.
We meet Strike’s only other client, who’s quite concerned with her husband and his infidelity, and he happens to have created with her sister! She, not too subtly informs Robin that Strike is in fact the son of a famous singer, and a ‘super groupie’. Robin gets to stay on for a while longer with Strike as they come to a private arrangement. Robin stopped a psychology degree for an unforeseen event, what might that be…?
The first real interview is with the flat’s security guard, who has an impressively very thorough memory. On that day there was a different driver for Lula, and an alarm technician, who just happens not to have signed out, plus a pool door which wasn’t locked. A red herring? (Interesting how we aren’t sure about that idiom’s origin.) And Bestigui seems awfully concerned about a vase of flowers.
And we briefly meet Lula’s regular driver, Kieran Kolovas-Jones who was driving for Deeby that night. He’s a real celebrity wannabe. But earlier in the day Lula met her mother (adopted) and seemed to have been given news which she gave to her rehab friend. What happened there? Jones becomes quite guarded with Strike’s questioning especially with the access remote, suspicious?
Duffield visited Lula’s mother on her deathbed, why? A publicity stunt? Strike visits the hostel for homeless looking for Lula’s friend, who we find out is Rochelle. But we don’t get to meet just yet. We have to find her!
Strike gets to talk to Wardle, one of the detectives on the case (obviously incompetent since he didn’t catch a killer), and so we get a bit more of the picture. Mrs Bestiugi couldn’t have heard anything, the windows are sound proof, but she was wearing very little, and shivering like anything. And Mr Bestiugi has a terrible reputation of violence, maybe he’s a suspect despite the logistical difficulties?
Because of John, there’s a meeting with Tansy Bestiugi and Ursula, her sister. Both are the stereotypical upper class women, with disdain for everything and everyone. Tansy stands by her account, that she heard Lula saying that it was too late, she had already done it, what she meant, I don’t know. Honestly these women are deplorable, I don’t think I could stand being near people like that.
So quite a lot revealed and yet so much more to learn.