Thoughts on ‘The Silkworm’

‘When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the book is published it will ruin lives – so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…’

I read a lot of books last year but perhaps one of the best was a crime detective novel by Robert Galbraith on Comoran Strike and his newly arrived assistant Robin (surname forgotten). Of course, we all know that Galbraith is in fact a pseudonym for JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame. ‘The Silkworm’ is an interesting book which can be certainly described as a page turner – 450 pages in less than 4 days of limited reading is fast by most counts. However, I feel that compared to the first book in the series, ‘A Cuckoo’s Calling’ (which is also around 450 pages), ‘Silkworm’ seems to be a lot shorter than ‘Cuckoo’ because of the escalation of events.

Comoran Strike I think has to be one of the most interesting detective characters to be created in living memory. I find him to be a complex character who you enjoy the company of whilst respecting his actions. Robin is developed a little in the sequel and though I also like her character; she doesn’t have the layers to her personality like Strike whilst her fiance Matthew needs some redeeming qualities (at the moment he can be described as “jealous boyfriend” correctly and easily) the other characters are also interesting as they fill in parts of the story as Strike attempts to solve the murder and I like the unfriendliness between Scotland Yard and Strike due to events in ‘Cuckoo’. 

I was quite close on my prediction of who would be the murderer and was slightly surprised by the outcome. The murderer doesn’t quite jump the shark like in a couple of Agatha Christie’s later novels but there is an aura of not making sense when Strike reveals all. I think that ‘Silkworm’ obviously suffers from mid-book crisis as not every thread and plotline is completed by the time we end. I feel that the reveal is a bit sudden and it’s quite easy to get confused. 

Overall, however, I feel that ‘The Silkworm’ is an excellent book with memorable characters and moments whilst Strike steals the show yet again with realistic moments of detective work. I’m certainly looking forward to book 3 and hope it comes sooner rather than later. I would be interested to know what people think of ‘The Silkworm’ as I think that (dare I say it) that Robert Galbraith is a better writer than JK Rowling.

4/5

Rohan

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