The following discussion questions for The Cuckoo's Calling were created by our member Allison N. She organized her questions into three sections in order to single out discussions on two important characters, Lula and Strike. We freely share our original discussion questions, but please consider including a credit and link to our website.
- Why do you think the novel is titled “The Cuckoo’s Calling?” What does “calling” refer to?
- How important is the setting to the story? How would the story have been different if it was set in the USA? Or anywhere else in the world?
- What do you make of Rowling’s constant racial references in the novel?
- In this story, many people are out for fame and /or fortune. A (very) few of the characters were not, however, and were genuinely concerned. Was there a character that surprised you by their greed or the opposite, their temperance or generosity?
- What do you think of J.K. Rowling's decision to publish under a pseudonym? Would you have read the book if you didn't know Rowling wrote it? Did knowing the author change your assessment?
- Would you have believed The Cuckoo's Calling was written by a man if the true author were not revealed?
On a cold winter’s night, a beautiful supermodel, Lula, falls from her balcony to her death. Holding readers in limbo about Lula’s real demise—whether it was suicide or murder—leads to many questions.
- Do you blame Lula’s death on depression or rage?
- Was Lula’s curiosity about her past her downfall or did her relationship with a rapper lead to her demise?
- How is it that fame seems to cause a downward spiral for so many stars?
- Why doesn’t Rowling use Lula’s nickname, Cuckoo, more often in the novel?
Strike is a down on his luck, war veteran and policeman now trying to run a private investigation business. Unfortunately, he finds himself simply in debt with zero clients.
- Why does Strike have to be an amputee? How would the story have been different if he didn’t have a physical problem? Does this physical ailment give Strike strength or piteousness?
- Why does Rowling constantly refer to the pain Strike has in the stump of his leg? Does this matter to the story in any way?
- What was the killer’s motive as explained by Strike? Did you find this believable?
- Robin is engaged to Matthew, whom we rarely see in the book. What are your impressions of Matthew? Do you feel that Robin’s feelings about him change during the story?
- How do you feel about the reaction of Matthew to Robin’s job with Strike? Should Robin’s husband be more supportive?
- Sir and Lady Bristow adopted Lula after the death of one of their other adopted sons. It is implied that Lady Bristow knew there was a chance John had killed his adopted brother. What were the reasons Lady Yvette adopted Lula in spite of this? What do you think of her decision?
- Why did Bristow hire a PI? What was he hoping to accomplish?
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The Cuckoo's Calling discussion questions are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.