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I've asked about these books here before, as I've bought them all (would do so even if I had no intention of reading, tbh) but had huge trouble getting into them.

I watched the first book (first three episodes of season one) adapted for TV as Strike, and now I'm in. I don't know what the hurdle was before, but it gave me the impetus to get into the books and I'm so impressed so far. Obviously I know the ending of Cuckoo's Calling, but am still reading, and there is SO much texture in the books even if you know the twist; and I have Silkworm on Audiobook (library availability) which I'm working through.

Anyway, what struck me is that, beyond being from an author we want to support, and being entertaining reads if one likes mysteries, is that these are thoroughly feminist books. They are perfused with the awareness of how women are treated and shaped by society, on the basis of biology, culture, the law ... it's tremendous, and it is for the most part subtle. It doesn't read (contra some of the reviews) like a feminist, much less a TERF, manifesto; it just reads like a good, entertaining read by someone who incorporates the reality of women's lives into the story and the characters.

Which is good, btw - almost everything I've read that is "ideology based" fiction, for lack of a better word is terrible fiction. (Thinking of some of Robert Heinlein, in particular; I'm a SF junkie, but the politics, and perhaps more precisely their lack of subtlely, make some of the books tedious.)

It's also interesting that she chose to publish not only under a new name but as a man. I think IIRC she was 'outed' pretty fast, but I'd be curious if anybody notices that Galbraith writes women extraordinarily well, for a 'man', before it was widely known that Galbraith was JKR.

Don't think this is a spoiler but being conservative: I know one of the TRANSPHOBE! allegations comes from a later book having a killer disguised as a woman to avoid detection. In Silkworm, someone seems to access a murder site in a burka, and at the point I'm in in the book, while we don't know if it's a man or a woman, there has yet to be mention of a Muslim so it's almost certainly not a Muslim character. Did Muslims lose their minds about ISLAMOPHOBIA when this book came out, like the TIMs did about the villain wearing a dress to camouflage him/her/faeself?

Anyway, many thanks to all the Ovarites who answered questions and assured me it was worth getting into it. I can also recommend the TV show thus far; although obviously a lot is cut out when a massive novel is trimmed to ~3h, it seems fairly faithful on the broad strokes, and the acting is fairly good, as well as the production values.

If you're on the fence, I'd say if you like the Kellerman novels, or the latest batch of British mystery hits by women, you'd like Galbraith's books. It's got some grisly bits, but I always find those less disturbing in text than on screen (the books for GoT bothered me far less than the HBO production) and in terms of tone they're way less bleak than the Scandinavian mysteries, etc.

I've asked about these books here before, as I've bought them all (would do so even if I had no intention of reading, tbh) but had huge trouble getting into them. I watched the first book (first three episodes of season one) adapted for TV as Strike, and now I'm in. I don't know what the hurdle was before, but it gave me the impetus to get into the books and I'm so impressed so far. Obviously I know the ending of Cuckoo's Calling, but am still reading, and there is SO much texture in the books even if you know the twist; and I have Silkworm on Audiobook (library availability) which I'm working through. Anyway, what struck me is that, beyond being from an author we want to support, and being entertaining reads if one likes mysteries, is that these are thoroughly feminist books. They are perfused with the awareness of how women are treated and shaped by society, on the basis of biology, culture, the law ... it's tremendous, and it is for the most part subtle. It doesn't read (contra some of the reviews) like a feminist, much less a TERF, manifesto; it just reads like a good, entertaining read by someone who incorporates the reality of women's lives into the story and the characters. Which is good, btw - almost everything I've read that is "ideology based" fiction, for lack of a better word is terrible fiction. (Thinking of some of Robert Heinlein, in particular; I'm a SF junkie, but the politics, and perhaps more precisely their lack of subtlely, make some of the books tedious.) It's also interesting that she chose to publish not only under a new name but as a man. I think IIRC she was 'outed' pretty fast, but I'd be curious if anybody notices that Galbraith writes women extraordinarily well, for a 'man', before it was widely known that Galbraith was JKR. Don't think this is a spoiler but being conservative: >! I know one of the TRANSPHOBE! allegations comes from a later book having a killer disguised as a woman to avoid detection. In Silkworm, someone seems to access a murder site in a burka, and at the point I'm in in the book, while we don't know if it's a man or a woman, there has yet to be mention of a Muslim so it's almost certainly not a Muslim character. Did Muslims lose their minds about ISLAMOPHOBIA when this book came out, like the TIMs did about the villain wearing a dress to camouflage him/her/faeself? !< Anyway, many thanks to all the Ovarites who answered questions and assured me it was worth getting into it. I can also recommend the TV show thus far; although obviously a lot is cut out when a massive novel is trimmed to ~3h, it seems fairly faithful on the broad strokes, and the acting is fairly good, as well as the production values. If you're on the fence, I'd say if you like the Kellerman novels, or the latest batch of British mystery hits by women, you'd like Galbraith's books. It's got some grisly bits, but I always find those less disturbing in text than on screen (the books for GoT bothered me far less than the HBO production) and in terms of tone they're way less bleak than the Scandinavian mysteries, etc.

14 comments

The Robin Ellacott story arc is really my favorite thing about the Strike novels. Her story isn't cliche'd, often doesn't go in the direction that I expect it to go in, and sometimes I think Rowling's kind of painted herself into a corner character-development wise ... but then it turns out not.

Also, have to say ... I love Barclay SO MUCH! Might be just me. I used to live in Edinburgh, so the love starts with the Scottish accent and the attitude and just goes on from there...

The accusation of "feminist screed" comes from people who are so used to seeing women protrayed in secondary roles, in subservient roles, or as flat, wooden characters, that anything different must be feminist propaganda.

I too found it a refreshingly normal portrayal of the female lead character, her thoughts and actions. I am listening, and am on the most recent. I coud hardly wait. I wish the woman could write faster! I am echoing all those children waiting every year for the next Harry Potter...

[–] otterstrom 3 points Edited

I was very refreshed to see the explainer on the back of the newest novel the ink black heart was entirely focused on Robin as the foreperson! Strike was only mentioned in relation to her.

She's good on disability, too. I like the way Strike's disability is portrayed realistically – it does limit him somewhat and he deals with it as he can.

Good point. Also does veterans fairly well, from what I can tell. She must be a good researcher, as to the best of my knowledge she has no firsthand experience of disability or being in uniform.

I just finished reading the latest novel. The beginning was a little slow, but then I got hooked and couldn't put it down. I normally don't read crime or mystery novels, but I wanted to support Rowling, so bought the entire series. The characters are well-developed, the case unfolds with unexpected revelations, and the ongoing dramas of Strike/Charlotte and Strike/Robin make for hours spent on the couch, my knees locking into a flexed position from lack of movement and my tea getting cold because I couldn't stop reading.

However, Robin does do something in the latest book that really bothered me. I'm not sure why Rowling chose to have her do this, but it was something that made me disappointed in the character. She makes out not once, but multiple times with a possible suspect as part of her investigation. Her inner thoughts are that the woman she is posing as would not object, so go along with it. This kind of dispassionate engagement in an otherwise passionate encounter to achieve a certain end reminds me too much of prostitution. Besides which, if the man's fingernails were dirty and his body unwashed, what must his oral hygiene been like? Yuck

I felt the same way. I'm hoping it will be addressed in a later book, wherein Robin is in a similar position but doesn't go along.

I liked the first two, Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm. Amazon reviews for the 3rd and 4th aren't that good, might skip one. Thoughts?

I wish Rowling would write a novel for lesbians. There isn't enough good literature out there for WLW. I do like Emma Donaghue and Sarah Waters.

[–] intervention 0 points Edited

I read all six books and really liked them.

Career of Evil (3) contains more psychopathy than Lethal White (4), which for me made it more stressful to read. But I liked the craftsmanship of both books.

The clients in Troubled Blood (book 5, I think) are a lesbian couple. They're not central, as such, but their relationship, including interactions with extended family, are dealt with very sympathetically and normally.

The Scandinavian mysteries are so bleak! I’m so glad that I read the books before I watched the TV shows. I had my own version of what Strike and Robin looked like in my mind but I’ll be honest as soon as I watch the shows it was completely supplanted! Nothing I’m sad about that, they are both rather handsome. I’m only sad that now I can’t remember my original impression. It is amazing, isn’t it? How much more detail the books have the shows could not have possibly included everything, and I’m glad that they didn’t try. Because the books are their own world.

Book 3 goes all out with violence against women, she wasn't subtle in book 3 about women's issues, lol. Book 3 is actually insanely depressing, be prepared...