Book Review: Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

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 . . .

Coming in at over 900 pages this is a proper beast of a book. I loved every single one of those pages. This was a wonderfully crafted crime novel – the longer winding plot line perfectly suited a cold-case investigation. There were no urgent leads to run down, just the unpicking of old clues and the tracking down of old witnesses, or in a lot of cases their surviving family members.

I also love the fact that unlike a lot of Crime novels, our detectives were hard at work on more than one case. It makes the whole agency seem so much more realistic. It also showed the unglamorous parts of the job – sitting outside houses bored for long periods of time for example as well as the more interesting interviewing and running clues down.

We got even more of a glimpse into the private lives and thoughts of both Strike and Robin in this book and it was nice to see their relationship grow and change with them as well.

This was not always an easy book to read – it was very much a book focused on the different challenges facing women and girls, both historically and in present day and also the violence that women can be victims of. This ranged form the rumours in Robin’s home town about what caused her divorce to the torture and rape of women in a basement by a psychotic killer. In between that there were inappropriately sexual photo’s being sent to women, classism, racism to women of colour, and quite frankly just general sexism faced by our female characters.

There was however absolutely no commentary at all in the book on transgenderism. The vicious rumours that surrounded the publication of this book were completely unfounded. Indeed if this book had been written by a different author there would have been no commentary at all.

This was a brilliant story and I loved spending time in the company of these characters again. I very much look forward to reading the next instalment of their story, whenever that arrives.

Troubled Blood is available now.

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