by Robert Galbraith
A Cormoran Strike Novel
In The Silkworm, the second novel from J.K. Rowling under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, the private detective, Cormoran Strike is not so desperate as he was in the first novel. After solving the mystery of the famous model’s murder, he actually has more clients and money rolling in. This helps him retain his assistant Robin, except she is in an odd position of being part secretary and part detective assistant. They continue to struggle with that part of their professional relationship in this novel, and their relationship is also what makes me want to continue reading more in this series. The mysteries are intriguing but the main working relationship between these two keep me coming back for more.
Even though Strike is getting more regularly paying clients, he decides to take on a case from Leonora Quine who has no money of her own, but claims that her missing husband, and unsuccessful novelist, Owen can pay once he is found. That is why Lenora is requesting Strike’s help. She says that Owen can sometimes run off when working on a new book, but she really needs him to come home. Of course, the case is not as simple as that, since when Strike does eventually find Owen, he is disemboweled in the same manner that is described in his about-to-be-published novel that is very thinly veiled nasty tell-all about all the literary figures in his own life from fellow writers to agents and publishers. Only a few people are supposed to have read this novel, which makes the suspect list short, but things are a bit more complicated than they first appear.
I enjoyed this book more than the first once since there did not need to be as much set up between Strike and Robin. There are hints that there is trouble with Robin’s love life and that she would be better matched with Strike, but personally, I hope it doesn’t go that way. I like their working relationship. While her now husband does not seem like a winner, I don’t necessarily want her to be romantic with her boss. I do enjoy the scenes with them working together and even doing detective work separately. They are both very capable.
Throughout the book, Strike needs to read through Owen Quine’s novel, which reads like some self-publishing erotica out there. It is so bad and so laughable. I really made me appreciate editors and publishers, because even though I know sometimes something really good is ignored in the book world, there is so much out there that is crap. I wonder how much fun Rowling had trying to write parts of that horrible book-within-a-book.
This time, I felt that the clues were set up a little better so that it made more sense to me when the killer was finally revealed. I didn’t feel like it had to be laid out so plainly because there was no other way to reach the conclusion, like in the first one. There were hints building up to the big reveal. I feel like Rowling is getting better at writing detective novels and I have heard her latest one, Career of Evil, is the best one yet. I’m waiting for it to come out in paperback and then I’ll read it!