The BUZZ: This is the second installment in Galbraith/Rowling’s detective series featuring Cormoran Strike.
The GIST: Six months have passed since Strike and his assistant, Robin, solved the Lulu Landry case. Now, a novelist has disappeared, and his wife has hired Strike to track him down. The hunt takes the pair into a variety of London pubs and restaurants, into and out of the Tube, through elegant drawing rooms and decrepit flats, and across the English countryside. Throughout what evolves into a somewhat grisly murder mystery, Rowling skewers the publishing world and spares none of the key players.
The WRITING: There’s nothing quite like the thrill of being in the hands of a master storyteller. Rowling has honed her skills through all of the Harry Potter books and in the first in this series (The Cuckoo’s Calling), and the plot and narrative are flawless. Rowling’s gift for detailed observation make her a natural for detective fiction. The characters are well drawn, and, true to the genre, it’s difficult to identify the villains and separate them from the innocent bystanders. All is revealed in the closing chapters, and the loose ends are tied up neatly.
BUY or BORROW?: This series is a great one to borrow – as I’ve said before, once you know whodunit, mysteries lose their shelf appeal. The Silkworm is fairly long, but it’s a quick read. I recommend you start with The Cuckoo’s Calling so you can get the full picture of the prickly yet endearing Cormoran Strike. He’s a memorable character – a tough army veteran who struggles as an amputee and as the illegitimate son of a famous rock star – and one you want to see succeed.
The slight unevenness in his gait became more pronounced as he walked down the slope towards Smithfield Market, monolithic in the winter darkness, a vast, rectangular Victorian temple to meat, where from four every weekday morning animal flesh was unloaded, as it had been for centuries past, cut, parceled and sold to butchers and restaurants across London.