Title: The Silkworm
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo’s Calling.
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.
But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.
When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…
I don’t know how many times I’m going to say it – I guess as many times as it’s true: J.K. Rowling can do no wrong in my eyes. This latest installment in her pseudonym-authored mystery series is no exception.
I suppose things started out kind of slowly at the beginning, mainly because I was already reading another book at the same time, but it wasn’t because I wasn’t interested in the book. Even though things start out kind of slowly, with the mystery not really kicking in right away, I was still so interested in following along with Strike and Robin’s methods and jobs that I was already caught up in the story even without a lot of answers.
There are a lot of smaller plot points mixed in with the main mystery. Robin is officially working for Strike as his assistant, but it causes problems with her fiance and she feels like she isn’t properly respected for all that she does and can do, which was interesting to see. Strike also has his own problems, like the fact that his former fiancee is ready to get married but still might cause problems for him. Mysteries are interesting, of course, but it’s really good when you also care about the characters trying to solve the mysteries and what’s going on in their lives.
That’s one of the things that sets this mystery apart from a mediocre one: the characters. Strike is not a happy character, but he’s still an interesting one to read about. Robin continues to hold my attention the most, though – she might be the secondary protagonist, but she didn’t feel like a smaller character in my mind at all. There’s obviously more to her story that I look forward to learning in future books.
All of the secondary characters are diverse and fascinating, but I’m not sure there’s one that’s really a “good” character. Some people are attractive and rotten on the inside, while others are awkward-looking and nicer on the inside, and there are even some who are unfortunate inside and out. I suppose that’s much more realistic, but it surprised me a bit for some reason.
This is the second book in a row that I’ve read in January (and a tiny bit of February) that takes place right before Christmas. I wish I could have read it back in December, which I was really in the Christmas mood, but I think the setting managed to feel authentic anyway. There’s plenty of snowy trouble, causing problems with the mystery and the characters’ lives, and reading it during wintry months just seemed right.
This has nothing to do with the book, but since it took place in November and December, it included Thanksgiving. I was confused for a moment when November apparently ended without any mention of Thanksgiving – then I remembered that Brits might not care that much about a holiday meant to celebrate the time that American settlers were actually nice to Native Americans…
I still didn’t guess who did it! I think I’m kind of terrible at guessing the culprit, but it never really takes away from my enjoyment of the mystery. I was totally caught up in all the clues, trying to put everything together and figuring out some small bits, but it was twisty and mysteriousness enough that I, a mere mortal with little detecting abilities apparently, had little chance of figuring it out. I had fun along the way, though, so I didn’t mind at all.
This book continues to sow tiny little seeds that could blossom into a very interesting romance in the future. I won’t say much more about it, but I’m certainly intrigued by it and want to see what’ll happen in the next book. Otherwise, though, there really isn’t a lot of romance in this book, not that it needed any.
As is often the case with mysteries, the ending went by quickly as I tried to learn all the answers and see how everything would be wrapped up.
Basically, I enjoyed this book just as much as everything else I’ve read by J.K. Rowling. Yeah, my love of Harry Potter probably makes me biased, but if you’re equally biased, you’ll probably be just as happy with this – as long as you remember that these books are much more adult than Harry Potter, that is.