The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm‘The Silkworm’ is the second novel by Robert Galbraith featuring ex-military policeman turned private detective Cormoran Strike. In his latest case, Strike is hired by the wife of Owen Quine, a little-known author who has gone off by himself for a few days and is expected to return home once he has been found. However, Quine had recently completed a new novel entitled ‘Bombyx Mori’ featuring grotesque pen-portraits thinly disguised as various people he knows. The unpublished manuscript has already been circulating the literary world and having made a considerable number of enemies, Quine is later discovered brutally murdered.

It has now been just over a year since Robert Galbraith was revealed to be a pseudonym for J. K. Rowling three months after the first book in the Cormoran Strike series ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling‘ had been quietly published in April 2013. Even if a solicitor hadn’t told his wife’s friend who subsequently shared the secret with a journalist, I suspect that it would have been discovered through some other means by now. Either way, literary crime fiction is a genre which really suits Rowling and she deserves recognition for what is shaping up to be a consistently excellent series full of intriguing characters.

In the second outing for the formidable Cormoran Strike, Rowling Galbraith turns to the publishing world. Set in late 2010, the story picks up eight months after the Lula Landry case was solved and unsurprisingly, Strike has now become something of a reluctant celebrity. ‘The Silkworm’ is more macabre than ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ with a denser plot and deepening character development. Robin is still running the administration of the business but is keen to branch out and develop her detective skills alongside Strike. However, her fiancé Matthew is much less approving of Robin’s preferred career which creates tension throughout and I am keen to see where this aspect of the story is taken in future volumes.

I correctly guessed the identity of the murderer based on a clue which proved they had been present at the scene of the crime. However, the more complex reasons behind why and how Owen was murdered were still intriguing to unravel. The book is heavily descriptive but the blending of the classic and contemporary aspects of crime fiction which made ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ so entertaining to read is equally successful in ‘The Silkworm’. Moreover, ‘The Silkworm’ reads like a book which its author genuinely enjoyed crafting, particularly the scenes featuring some of the more unsavoury characters which were clearly great fun to create.

Fans of Cormoran Strike will be pleased to hear that Rowling has hinted this week that there will be at least seven books in the series. She has also confirmed that the next instalment will explore what happens to those who leave the military in more depth. I, for one, can’t wait.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

  1. Sounds interesting, thanks for the review, will definitely take a look at it 🙂

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  2. I finally have a copy of The Cuckoo’s Calling which I’m delighted about. A great review of the next in the series!

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  3. Great review. I’ve got both The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm on my list to read and I can’t wait to start reading.

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  4. Your summary of the plot is great: just enough detail. Now I want to start the Galbraith books!

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  5. Interesting review. I really don’t see why she doesn’t just drop the whole Galbraith thing though 😛

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  6. Col

    Think you’ve got these books and characters spot on. I loved Cuckoo Calling and am currently half way through The Silkworm which if anything is even better!

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  7. I’m glad to hear you liked this one! I look forward to reading it. I really enjoyed the characters in Cuckoo’s Calling (perhaps more than the mystery itself).

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  8. I’ve just started The Cuckoo’s Calling and am liking it already, so it’s good to know the second book doesn’t disappoint!

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  9. The cuckoo’s calling was nice but the buildup was so good that the reveal was a bit of a let down. I am looking forward to reading The Silkworm.

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  10. Chris Sullivan

    I have to write that I admire her for writing under an assumed name and attempting to avoid selling the Galbraith books on the back of her reputation. It looks like she has made the transition from children’s writer to adult writer very capably.

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  11. Haven’t read either Galbraith book yet but am superbly excited about it. Am ‘saving’ them. For what exactly I have no idea…

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  13. I’ve resisted reading either Galbraith books because I could barely make it through The Casual Vacancy. As a Harry Potter fan, I loved that JK Rowling was writing more fiction, but The Casual Vacancy was so dull. Might have to take another shot at her stuff. Thanks for the review.

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  14. I to cannot wait for the next in the series ….

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