Published: June 2014 by Sphere
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♡
The Silkworm was one of 2014’s most anticipated releases. The book is the second installment in the Cormoran Strike series written by JK Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Having immensely enjoyed the first book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, I was looking forward to getting stuck into the sequel.
Cormoran Strike, fresh from his success solving the Lula Landry case in The Cuckoo’s Calling is roped into a missing person mystery when the wife of Owen Quine, a has-been author, turns up at Strike’s office asking him to find her husband. The now famous private investigator finds himself swept up in the world of literary intrigue as egotistical authors, decades-old rivalry, and domestic un-bliss take over the pages. It soon becomes clear that a manuscript the missing author was working on may hold the key to his disappearance…
The premise of The Silkworm was a nice departure from the celebrity and socialite world we were introduced to in The Cuckoo’s Calling. Instead, the reader is immersed in the publishing world, meeting characters that ranged from competitive authors, ruthless agents, tired editors and successful publishers – all of them intriguing and compelling. I really enjoyed the strong characters, both the literary ones as well as the usual smattering of mistresses and partners. The character roll-call was a little difficult to keep track of, but Galbraith helped us by narrowing down the list of suspects nicely. I also loved the rich descriptions of London – as a Londoner I enjoyed being able to picture the exact locations as I was personally familiar with many of them.
The Silkworm also gave us a much better insight into the lives and backgrounds of Strike and Robin which was a welcome breather every few chapters. Their personal dramas and their interactions with others away from work was done well and made the duo more relatable. I found the long-awaited meeting between Matthew, Robin’s fiance, and Strike really amusing (JKR recently tweeted that this was one of her favourite chapters to write!)
The ins-and-outs of the publishing world were really interesting to read about – especially knowing it’s JK Rowling writing under a pseudonym and that some of the things that happen in the book may reflect her own experiences. The actual manuscript, Bombyx Mori, (Latin for silkworm) which was the focus of the book was fascinating, if a little confusing. But I liked how it showed the immense number of people and amount of work involved in the development of a novel – from conception to release.
There were a couple of the things that stopped the book from achieving a solid five star rating from me. It took me a while to get into the book – truth be told, I began The Silkworm in June 2014 but abandoned it about 60 pages in. It is understandable that with a murder mystery, the characters/suspects must be established first but I think the “crime” which was a huge and gruesome hook came a little too far in. I also felt the “reveal” was a little delayed – Strike and Robin are aware of the culprit a few chapters before the reader yet when the reveal came, it was rushed and I found it a little anticlimactic.
Overall though, the plot kept me guessing “whodunnit” and the pacing through much of the middle of the book kept me turning the pages. This book seemed to set up some significant character development for Strike and Robin which I’m looking forward to exploring in the next installment, Career of Evil, due out in October this year.
Have you read any of the Coromoran Strike novels? Are you a die-hard Harry Potter fan and is that how you came across the Strike series? What did you think of The Silkworm? Sound off in the comments below 🙂