The Silkworm, is a crime novel written by J K Rowling under the guise of Robert Galbraith and the second of the Comoran Strike series. The first of this series being The Cuckoo’s Calling which I had read several years prior to this. The Silkworm was an excellent follow on from The Cuckoo’s Calling; two books which do not fall under my usual go-to genres. However, this was recommended to me by a book club at Yeovil College that I attended at the beginning of university, but due to the work load, had never had the time to read. I had read The Cuckoo’s Calling at this same club and thoroughly enjoyed it. Comoran Strike is a very real character with obvious flaws and for this reason he is likable, and he’s relatable in a sense that as a reader, you know there are many Comoran Strike type characters in Britain, and you may yourself know one.
As a writer myself, I took particular interest in this story line as it follows the death of struggling author, Owen Quine and demonstrates how a novel can impact the lives of everyone around the writer. The saying ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ comes to mind, but the pen does in fact, become the sword. At first, as I found with The Cuckoo’s Calling, it begins quite slowly for my taste as it warms up to the case of the missing writer. Strike has side cases in this novel that he didn’t have when he worked on the Lula Landry case. These add as a distraction, or as a way to pass the time when the Quine case begins moving too quickly. They add life to Strike’s business but they don’t really do anything else. There are no cross overs on the cases and the characters of these side cases are flat, but Strike needs to make money from somewhere, as he likes to remind us.
While the case itself is an interesting one with lots of twists and turns and the narrator withholds information from us about Strikes theory of the case and the jobs Strike gives to some of the characters, the extra characters themselves are enjoyable to meet too. In this we see Strike’s awful ex, Charlotte, again. She gets worse and it make you as a reader angry. We meet his younger half brother Al, his sister Lucy (who made me groan), and some of his friends who all, excect Lucy, play a part in the capture of the murderer.
Robin Ellacott remains in the office and she has her own story alongside that of Strike’s which was refreshing and builds up to an explosion as they debate Robin’s role within the case and workplace and another in her own relationship with her fiance. The capture of the killer is, ultimately, down to Robin being brave and taking the initiative, proving that she is just as worthy to work on this case, and future cases, as Strike. I found myself rooting for Robin the whole way through the book as she fights for recognition and promotion in the work place and equality and transparency in her relationship, as she feels she has to hide what she’s doing from Matthew, her fiance, who doesn’t approve and is jealous of Strike.
Over all, I think this was a great read and I definitely recommend the series, particularly for those that, like me, are not avid readers of crime fiction but are feeling a little adventurous. By the middle, if you put down the book, you are left counting the minutes until you can pick it back up again and it gets so exciting that you have to fight the urge to jump to the end (or at least I did because I am guilty of this on occasion) but at the same time, I needed to read on in case I missed any important clues, or even, anything going on in Strike or Robin’s personal lives, of which plenty does occur.