ON a chilly winter evening, a glamorous supermodel's life is tragically cut short after she falls from the balcony of her Mayfair apartment.

A thorough police investigation concludes suicide, but her brother John Bristow believes otherwise and persuades private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

A very reluctant Strike promises to review the evidence and the notes made by a very meticulous Bristow, but as he and his pretty assistant Robin dig deeper, discrepancies emerge and soon more murders begin to surface.

Robert Galbraith, who spent several years with the Royal Military Police and was attached to the Special Investigation Branch, demonstrates superb flair as a mystery writer in his debut novel.

It's a gripping tale set in the bustle of London, taking us from the elegant streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End.

Review by Nilima Marshall