18 August 2014

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Full disclosure, I adore JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and I knew going in to The Cuckoo’s Calling who had actually written it.  I am, therefore, more than a little biased.  That said, I’ve never had much affinity for private detective stories.  I’ve read plenty of Sherlock Holmes, sure, but still, the genre isn’t one I usually seek out.

That being said, I enjoyed The Silkworm immensely.

The Silkworm is the sequel to The Cuckoo’s Calling and follows private detective Cormoran Strike and his plucky assistant Robin on their latest case.  After the events of The Cuckoo’s Calling, Strike has gained some fame from his success with the Lula Landry case, and The Silkworm finds him overworked due to an oversized client base composed almost entirely of wealthy people engaged in acrimonious divorces.

Then comes the new case: Leonora Quine, wife of writer Owen Quine, wants Strike to find her husband.  And find her, he does, though Quine is in fact dead.

It wouldn’t be a murder mystery otherwise, would it?

Much like The Cuckoo’s Calling, Strike assembles quite a rogue’s gallery of memorable characters as possible suspects, assets, and friends.  Clues are carefully assembled, and Galbraith (Rowling) rations out the clues with relish, sometimes letting us know what Strike has found and other times leaving us to guess what his latest deduction is.

The relationship of Strike and Robin is explored more, as well, and we get to see just how resourceful Robin can be.  She even reveals heretofore hidden depths of badassery.

I wish I could figure out how to say more about The Silkworm without spoiling it, but I’m having trouble doing so.

I would say that I thought it was somehow both exciting and illicit to see the glimpse of the publishing world that Rowling shares.  No doubt it’s exaggerated and twisted, but there’s still the thrilling sense that Rowling is, ever so slightly, biting the hand that feeds her.  I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.  Either way, it made it exciting, and the conclusion was extremely satisfying.