The Silkworm is the second novel published by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. It features private investigator Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. On the tails of the successful unraveling of the Lula Landry murder in The Cuckoo’s Calling, Strike finds himself at no loss for lucrative work, even though the endless succession of jealous husbands and wives might get a little tedious for the army special forces veteran.
When the wife of a recently disappeared write of not-so-great renown comes to him from help, he takes on the case in spite of his doubts about his client’s ability to pay for his services. What follows is a lunge into the hidden life of a strange man who writes fiction which may appear to some as quite distasteful, described in the book as gothic, surreal, ornate and florid. We are also treated to a unsavory depiction of the publishing world, where writers, agents, publishers and writers’ groupies compete for attention and recognition.
Cormoran’s discovery of the mutilated corpse is not the sought-for resolution of the case but the start of an even stranger series of event that lead to a rather unexpected dénouement.
The Silkworm is a competently-written mystery novel. I thought that some of the language was repetitive and that the pace could have been a little faster. Rowling is still good at what I think she does best: detailed description of specific social settings and encounters. I wish she would now publish another novel like The Casual Vacancy, instead of a third mystery novel in short succession.