Pick of the Week: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, returns with a well-crafted, entertaining second mystery starring private detective Cormoran Strike. By taking on the publishing world in The Silkworm, she creates a complex, gritty story that keeps the reader guessing until the very end.
Strike is in better shape these days, thanks to his success in proving that a starlet had not committed suicide but was murdered in the Cuckoo’s Calling. Now with more cases and income coming in, he has been able stop sleeping in his shabby London office and move into the small apartment a flight up. His faithful assistant, Robin Ellacott, is still there, hoping to prove that she can be more than just a secretary. While she yearns to be a private detective, her prat of a fiancé, Matthew, disapproves of her low-paying, undignified job. The working relationship between Strike and Robin continues to nicely develop despite all the tension created by Matthew.
When flaky Leonora Quine asks Cormoran Strike to find her missing husband, the detective learns that the eccentric novelist has written a bizarre unpublished novel that clearly besmirches the reputations of prominent people in the ruthless publishing world. Strike eventually discovers Owen Quine’s dismembered body, and turns to the author’s poison-pen novel for a list of suspects. Was Quine killed by his publisher? His editor? His literary agent? His lover? A rival author? The police believe that Quine’s wife is the real killer, driving Strike to prove Leonora’s innocence.
With a masterly crafted plot, exquisite writing and complex characters, Rowling once again proves that she is an exceptional novelist. Even better than Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm is a sign that mystery readers have much to look forward to from Rowling/Galbraith.