Author: Robert Galbraith
Length: 455 pages
Plots Basics: Private detective Cormoran Strike is hired by a woman to find her missing husband, novelist Owen Quine. Quine has disappeared before, when working, or practicing infidelity. But as Strike tries to retrace Quine’s last known steps, he realizes that plenty of suspects exist who might have wanted to do the writer harms. Quine has completed a nasty novel, thinly disguising the literary world and exposing their dark secrets. When Strike finds a body, he knows their is a truly ruthless killer on the loose and he and his assistant Robin are the only ones who can prove it.
Banter Points: Move over Harry Potter. For those of you who may have forgotten, Galbraith is the pseudonym for J.K. Rowling and with The Silkworm, she’s proved again that she can write more than just the boy wizard. The Silkworm is better than her first Galbraith book, partly because we know Strike now and his bluntness and his limping and partly because the plot is that good. Cormoran and Robin are great characters and seeing their working relationship evolve over the course of this story was great.
I loved that that book was set in the literary milieu as well. I’ve been lucky that the communities of writers I’ve been around have been friendly and welcoming, but this line still rang really true:
Writers are a savage breed, Mr. Strike. If you want lifelong friendship and selfless camaraderie, join the army and learn to kill. If you want a lifetime of temporary alliances with peers who will glory in your every failure, write novels.
Bummer Points: The book is very British, though less so than Cuckoo’s Calling. Still, I did have to look up a couple bits of British slang to make sure I hadn’t missed anything important. A biro is a pen, for those who wonder, after László Bíró, the inventor of the modern ballpoint pen.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you were one of the (many) people who couldn’t get through Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy,” you might want to give her Galbraith books a try. They aren’t as crass but they are for adults with some language and content, but they have plots that are top-notch and entertaining.