Cormoran Strikes Again: The Silkworm

I love J.K Rowling! Harry Potter meant and means the world to me. However, I didn’t like The Casual Vacancy (2011). I didn’t ‘get’ it. It put me off reading the Robert Galbraith -J.K Rowling pseudonym dun dun dun -books. (Ha I just looked up my review of Cuckoo’s Calling and it starts off basically like this!)


I liked The Silkworm even better than The Cuckoo’s Calling.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he 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 realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives – so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before . . .

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant Robin Ellacott.

I never really read crime or think that I would enjoy it, but this was brilliant. I can’t resist a story about a writer.

Again Cormoran Strike is a brilliant character, he’s so genuine and interesting and even when his motives are sketchy I can’t help liking him. Robin his assistant comes into her own more, she really proves herself and although she’s engaged to Matthew, there is definitely something unsaid between them, a desire to please and their reactions are most telling. Can they just get together already? I saw the most brilliant fan art on the Instagram of @lwbean of Cormoran and Robin. And there’s also a kind of hilarious twitter account @CormoranStrike_ (Cheer the f**k up and eat your burger).

So, everyone mentioned in Bombyx Mori (Which is Latin for Silkworm) is basically a suspect because Owen Quine’s yet unpublished book has been leaked enough for them to know that it could do serious damage to famous authors and literary agents. There’s a really fascinating look into the often vicious world of publishing.

The killer kept me guessing to the very end. There was a few decent clues that seemed obvious once you knew, but it was way over my head. I was rushing the book one lunchtime with about 15 pages to go, had to leave it to return to work none the wiser. Sign of a good crime novel?

The story is so engaging and accessible. The dialogue is believable and at times very funny. Again, I find it interesting how Robert Galbraith writes like a man! Blokey jokes. Slight using of women.

Amazing picture of Cormoran and Robin hacking into Lula Landry’s laptop from Cuckoo’s Calling. Image from here.

I enjoyed the apt, well researched quotes at the beginning of each chapter by Thomas Dekker, William Congreve, John Webster etc. ‘Is he then dead?, What, dead at last, quite, quite forever dead? ‘ William Congreve The Mourning Bride. There is also the plot of a book within a book in the creepy Bombyx Mori containing vital symbolism, which is a very advanced and clever vital addition to the plot.

There is a brilliant, rather feminist bit where Robin pulls off an amazing bit of driving, saving their lives and staying cool, after Strike has been harbouring a prejudice against female drivers.

I love the echo of Harry Potter in the author’s love of names. Everyone has interesting names. I love Robin Ellacott and Owen’s daughter is called Orlando, after the Virginia Woolf character. Within Owen’s fictional novel there is even more fun had with names, Vainglorious for an awful famous writer was one.

Before I get completely carried away, just want to add that I would love to learn more about Robin and her background. Why did she drop out of her Psychology degree and why is that shrouded in mystery? Also I really want her and Strike to kiss! Loving the development of these two characters as much, if not more than the exciting murderous detective action!

I can fully recommend this unique crime novel. I’m going to save Career of Evil for a bit. 7 books in 2016 already. Happy reading.


Author: Fiona

2 thoughts on “Cormoran Strikes Again: The Silkworm”

  1. Hi Fiona

    What a great, honest review. You’ve got me interested now! Though I am up to my eyes in reading for our Swedish trip.

    Hope you don’t mind but M mentioned the job application to me ( no big surprise there I guess) and I spoke to our comms officer who has a background much like yours: English degree, newspaper work and various other jobs: i.e. bar work. I took some of her comms plans just to give you an idea of structure and content – really hope you do not feel ‘helicoptered!’ Expecting you to take what is useful and ignore the rest!! Looking forward so much to seeing you, so proud of you! Love Ann & M and Charlie and Pebbles

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