Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

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Cormoran Strike book 4. Sphere, 2018. ISBN 9780751572865
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary). Recommended. Themes: Mystery and suspense. When Cormoran Strike is visited by Billy, a strange man, who is convinced that he has seen a child murdered when he was young, Cormoran is intrigued and with Robin his partner, sets out to see if there is any truth in Billy's story. At the same time a Member of Parliament comes to Strike asking to help him because he is being blackmailed, and it seems that the two cases are linked together. Along the way, the reader is taken through a maze containing political machinations, members of Parliament, Robin's post-traumatic stress disorder, domestic disputes and murder as well as a setting upper class manor houses and horses contrasting with squalid living quarters.
I was new to this series when the book arrived to be reviewed and decided that I should read at least one of the earlier books to learn about the characters. After compulsively devouring The cuckoo's calling and The Silkworm, I tackled the very lengthy (649 pages) Lethal white, and even though it could have been pruned back, was mesmerised by the intricate plot and the relationship between Strike and Robin. Galbraith gives enough back story for the reader to pick up where the third in the series, Career of evil, ended, and the background of failing relationships and class structures adds depth to the two mysteries that are intertwined in the story.
I loved the descriptions of the upper class sisters nicknamed Izzy and Fizzy, their feelings for their stepmothers and the world that they and Charlotte, Strike's old girlfriend, occupy. The mysteries too are brought to a satisfactory conclusion, with lots of red herrings to confuse the reader along the way, and Strike and Robin's feelings for each other appear to have inched forward slightly.
Fans of mysteries are sure to enjoy Lethal White, and I will certainly be picking up future books in the series.
Pat Pledger