Who’s Getting Through All the Annabel’s?

I do almost all of my reading for pleasure by audiobook these days, to make use of my 60 minute commute every workday. As such, I think I have heard the Cormoran Strike series more often than I’ve read then.

In general, I’m a fan of audiobooks. After all, as story-tellers, humans have been telling and listening to stories much longer than they’ve read them. And when you have a narrator as good as Robert Glennister, who can show us Yanks a bit about what the regional accents in the U.K. sound like, it makes for a great production.

But there is an occasional glitch. On my last listen through The Cuckoo’s Calling, I got a surprise from this passage, which I have reproduced below, with the original spacing.

The telephone rang. Robin picked up the receiver. To Strike’s surprise, she immediately affected a very stilted Australian accent.

“Oy’m sorry, shiz not here…Naoh…Naoh…I dunnaoh where sheiz…Naoh…My nem’s Annabel…”

Strike laughed quietly. Robin threw him a look of mock anguish. After nearly a minute of strangled Australian, she hung up.

“Temporary Solutions,” she said.

“I’m getting through a lot of Annabels. That one sounded more South African than Australian.”

“Now I want to hear what happened to you yesterday,” said Robin, unable to conceal her impatience any longer. “Did you meet Bryony Radford and Ciara Porter?”

Strike told her everything that had happened, omitting only the aftermath of his excursion to Evan Duffield’s flat.

I had always assumed, reading the text, that the line in bold above was said by Strike. This is one of the first times we see him explicitly teasing her, for her rather lame efforts to impersonate a fictional temp every time her former agency calls. Apparently, she does not do international accents well. 

But, Glennister reads this line in Robin’s voice, making it sound like Robin is the one doing a little self-deprecating humor. A minor difference, to be sure, but as we see the relationship between Strike and Robin grow closer, the teasing is a sign of a increasing comfort and familiarity. Strike intends to convey that, given Robin’s inability to do consistent or believable accents, Temporary Solutions was going to conclude he was “getting through” multiple secretaries weekly, all of different nationalities, and all (what a coincidence!) named Annabel.

To my surprise, most of the people in the read-along group seemed to agree with Glennister that it was Robin’s line, and therefore that she was the one “getting through” a variety of Annabel personas. But, to me, not only is it funnier as Strike’s line, but the line break after “‘Temporary Solutions,’ she said.” indicates that the speaker has changed. If Robin had continued to speak, there should be no line break, just like there is none between “longer.” and “‘Did…'”.

So, am I crazy to think this was a narrator’s error here?

Oh, well. At least he wasn’t calling her “Isla.”


  1. Agree 100%. I always thought that was Strike’s line, and I think it’s funnier if it is.

  2. It’s got to be Strike’s line – as well as reading better that way, Robin wouldn’t be ‘getting through’ a lot of temps, only an employer could be doing that.
    100% agree!

  3. I thought it was Robin’s line although I think I read Cukoo just once before I listened to the audio book, so maybe the audio book corrupted me. It is funnier as Strike’s words.

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