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The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm

by Robert Galbraith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Cormoran Strike (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,5852462,149 (3.92)332
  1. 20
    Case Histories: A Novel by Kate Atkinson (keywestnan)
    keywestnan: Like Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling, Kate Atkinson excels at creating interesting, complex but believable characters in her series of novels about Jackson Brodie, a cop-turned-private detective. Case Histories is the first in the series -- not my absolute favorite but they're all really good and I think you should start at the beginning.… (more)
  2. 21
    The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (Eowyn1)

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English (241)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (245)
Showing 1-5 of 241 (next | show all)
I liked the second installment of detective Strike's and Robin's adventures a bit less than the first. Here's my reasoning:

* Gore. I am not a fan of it and didn't really think it was necessary for the story to feature such a gory crime. The theatrical ambience of it could have been recreated by other means.

* Several times in the last third Strike offers explanations, or else instructions, to one or more of his collaborators, but the reader is left in the dark. The scene is literally the summary "and then Strike divulges to Robin who the murderer is". Even though all this information is eventually revealed, this leaves a bit of a grating feeling, not in the least because it happens three different times. What is the purpose of even having the scene if you're going to keep all the important details hidden? I can understand doing it once to keep the suspense, but three different times is just too much.

* This is not specific to The Silkworm, but I noticed it even more than usually this time - the "I never met an adjective I didn't like syndrome". A lot of delicately nuanced adjectives that you rarely meet outside of ornate literature are used, thus necessitating frequent use of Kindle's built-in dictionary. Now I'm not sure if native speakers have the same problem, but seriously, sometimes you can just characterize something as pale instead of browsing through a thesaurus for exactly the right shade.

* I think Ms Rowling needs to be careful about where she's taking the Robin character. While generally likable enough, her "pangs of annoyance" every time Strike fails to acknowledge her successes or says anything remotely not to her liking might tip her over to the aggravating side of the scale. I like the possibly slightly more distant, but in a way more heartwarming relationship between Strike and Robin in The Cookoo's Calling better.

* I do not feel all the loose threads connect into a satisfying ending as well as they do in the Cookoo. Maybe this is the result of the above-mentioned passages where the reader is left in the dark, but generally I'm not too sure that the conclusion very logically follows the investigative process. The reasons that are pinned on the actual perpetrator could have just as easily been pinned on any of the other members of the small circle of suspects.

* Much as The Cookoo's Calling is a bit of a shot against the paparazzi and the press, The Silkworm could be construed as engaging in a bit of mockery of the amateur writing community. Yes, everyone and their grandma is writing a novel, no, almost nobody is as good as you, Ms Rowling, but the judgmental attitude of "the world needs more readers, less writers", a direct quote, is somewhat unbecoming. Maybe I'm reading that wrong, though.

Despite all this, The Silkworm is an easy and entertaining read. I got through it in just a couple of days. There are some improvements on the previous installment, too. London is featured even more prominently and I always like books where the setting rises nearly to the level of a character in the novel, although here we're just short of that. The dialogues where Strike and/or Robin talk to witnesses and suspects have decreased too, which is an improvement. And it seems that investigative methods that a private detective would use have been even more thoroughly researched by the author, painting Strike in a more professional light.

Like I said for the first book, a possibly more than decent whodunit. ( )
  matija2019 | Jan 8, 2019 |
I was initially wary about embarking on J K Rowling’s crime fiction, published under her soubriquet of Robert Galbraith. I sometimes wonder whether I am the only person in Britain who hasn’t read any of the Harry Potter books or seen any of the films made from them. This is not from any literary snobbishness but simply because I have never felt sufficiently inclined to read children’s literature while there are so many other books I consider more likely to appeal to my tastes, and yet so little time remaining in which to read them.

I was certainly more than a little cynical about the apparently inadvertent ‘leaking’ of the real identity of ‘Robert Galbraith’, which serve to boost the sales of the Cormoran Strike books, although I can perfectly understand Ms Rowling’s wish to see if her writing for grown-ups could succeed in its own right, rather than depending upon the impetus that her name would lend it.

Setting that wariness aside, I read The Cuckoo’s Calling the first of the Galbraith books a few years ago and enjoyed it. Cormoran Strike is certainly a welcome addition to the ranks of literary private detectives. Fictional detectives, whether in the police force or privateers, all seem to require at least one particular quirk or flaw, and Strike has them in abundance: disowned illegitimate son of a major rock star, former soldier who lost part of one leg in service in Afghanistan, and potentially as splenetic as Morse or Rebus on a bad day.

The novel worked very well, with a cleverly crafted plot and engaging and believable characters (neither of which was any no surprise from a novelist who had succeeded so admirably in encouraging children to read in the first place, and then holding their attention through increasingly massive books). Having enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling, I shortly afterwards attempted to read The Silkworm, but for reasons I can’t recall, gave up, having found it almost impossible to progress beyond the first few pages.

Finding myself recently the recipient of a copy of Lethal White, Galbraith’s latest novel, and after being convinced by several friends whose opinion I regard highly that The Silkworm certainly merited another chance, I returned to it a few days ago … and loved it.

The story opens with Strike being approached by Leonora Quine who wants him to find her missing husband. Mrs Quine herself in a markedly unappealing character, but her despair reaches out to Strike, and he agrees to take the case on. He learns that the missing husband, Owen Quine, was a novelist who had enjoyed early success although in recent years his popularity had declined, as had his standing with literary critics. He had, however, been working on what he believed would be his masterpiece, set to re-establish both his standing in the world of letters and his more worldly fortunes. This keen anticipation of an imminent return to fame and wealth had not been shared by his agent, whose initial response had been dismissive of many aspects of the work, causing a major rift between her and Quine. She had, however, forwarded it on to Quine’s current publisher and various other figures, without having read through it closely. It transpired that the work was a grotesque fantasy, through which Quire had satirised the publishing world in general, and many of his own acquaintances in particular, most of whom had been portrayed in the most appalling and deliberately hurtful manner. Although the book took the form of a horrific exercise in magical realism, the portrayals of certain individuals were clear enough to render the book libellous in the most incendiary manner.

Having read the book in closer detail, the agent tried to recall it from the various people to whom she had earlier forwarded it, but was too late. Many of those who had read it were immediately talking about legal action, and some had reacted violently, uttering violent threats against Quine. Against this background, Quine disappears.

The petty (and not so petty) jealousies that Strike uncovers within literary London are very entertaining, and I assume that Ms Rowling found a certain satisfaction in deriding some elements of the publishing world that was initially so resistant to taking on her Harry potter books (similar to the hapless A&R officer at Decca who turned down The Beatles on the grounds that there was not much demand for guitar bands).

The developing working and personal relationship between Strike and his capable and eager assistant Robin Ellacott is cleverly handled. In the early part of the story, Robin feels disconsolate as she feels that Strike does not value her as anything more than a glorified filing clerk. This is far from the truth, but while he is immensely impressed with her courage and abilities, Strike is reluctant to expose her to danger, and also recognises that her fiancé Matthew dislikes the idea of her working for him at all, and is reluctant to cause her any domestic strife. As the plot advances, and Strike finds himself more heavily challenged, his dependence upon her grows stronger, and she emerges almost as an equal partner.

This is a very entertaining and engaging book, and I am at a loss to understand why I didn’t get on with it better when I first tried to read it. I will certainly look forward to the next in the series, and may even find myself reading some of the Harry Potter books too! ( )
  Eyejaybee | Jan 6, 2019 |
Cormoran Strike has been hired to find a missing author by the author’s wife. It finally turns into a murder investigation. And much later, the case ends. Author J. K. Rowling does a good job with her characterizations, and the interaction between Strike and his assistant Robin is quite interesting. That being said, the plot moves along with the speed of a silkworm. The novel is quite gritty, with much profanity, gross descriptions, and obscene writing. No one is going to tell Rowling her books are too long, that the plots are lacking focus and could editing, that there is too much profanity, or that the descriptive parts are too obscene, but I would like to. ( )
  Maydacat | Dec 27, 2018 |
This would have been four stars, except that I didn't enjoy the mystery as much as I would have liked. What I did very much enjoy was the character development here. I particularly enjoyed the fleshing out of the relationship between Robin and her fiancee Matthew. It's nice to have characters in conflict who manage to talk through things like adults and come to some compromise. The mystery is an interesting look at the underside of the publishing world, but I really didn't like the conclusion, and I found it dragged quite a bit in the middle. I'm certainly still looking forward to the next, but I'm hoping that it will be better. ( )
  duchessjlh | Dec 16, 2018 |
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith is the second in a series of books about a private investigator with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. Unfortunately I found this second book to be a little too long and rather tedious in places. Strike is hired by the dowdy wife of a novelist to track down her missing husband, but the story becomes a look into the fishbowl existence of modern literary life in London.

The missing author has just completed a manuscript that is revealed to be a vicious expose of the people in his life, from his wife to his mistress and, most especially the agents, publishers and other authors that he deals with. When Strike finds the author horribly murdered, there is no shortage of suspects that he has to investigate, all having both opportunity and motive to remove the writer. For me the best part of the book is the slowly evolving relationship between Cormoran and his assistant, Robin.

The Silkworm is an entertaining enough whodunit but the setting of the publishing business felt a little claustrophobic and the author certainly took her time in developing the story. I felt that a good 100 pages of more could have been cut from this book as over all this was too much of a slow-burner instead of a page-turner. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 6, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 241 (next | show all)
In the case of “The Silkworm,” it’s clear that two narrow genres of literature have been the source of inspiration: the old-fashioned detective story with its careful parsing of evidence; and the Jacobean play, renowned for its biting satire and dark fascination with betrayal and revenge, death and cruelty and corruption.

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Galbraith, Robertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bergner, WulfÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Font i Mateu, LaiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Göhler, ChristophÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glenister, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grinde, HeidiOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, JoelCalligraphersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jørgensen, Henrik HartvigNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kurz, KristofÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mutsaers, SabineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nagy Gergely,Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stjernfelt, Agnete DorphTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, SianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wunder, DietmarErzählersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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...blood and vengeance the scene, death the story,
a sword imbrued with blood, the pen that writes,
and the poet a terrible buskined tragical fellow,
with a wreath about his head of burning match instead of bays.

The Noble Spanish Soldier
Thomas Dekker
To Jenkins, without whom... he knows the rest
First words
What dost thou feed on?
Broken sleep.
Thomas Dekker, The Noble Spanish Soldier
'Someone bloody famous,' said the hoarse voice on the end of the line, 'better've died, Strike.'
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary
A missing author
turns up murdered – Cormoran
Strike investigates.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316206873, Hardcover)

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... 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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