The Silkworm: Unravelling from a Cocoon

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the_silkwormIt’s innings two for J.K. Rowling’s twin creations – Robert Galbraith (the pseudonym she writes under) and Cormoran Strike (the detective she writes about as Galbraith), and it’s a delicious follow-up to her relatively drab debut The Cuckoo’s Calling.
The Silkworm is as much a story of Strike and his assistant Robin as it is about the mystery, not unlike its predecessor. Strike is hired to trace missing writer Owen Quine, whose disappearance becomes murkier when Strike discovers Quine had written a malicious book that viciously portrays the people he knows, from his agent and publisher to his wife and mistress. Things take a sinister turn when Quine is found murdered exactly in the fashion the protagonist of his novel is killed. There is no dearth of suspects, given how unpopular Quine was with a tremendous number of people, but there is no evidence either to help Strike figure out who did it.
In Galbraith’s (and Rowling’s) typical fashion, the story unravels slowly and picks up pace after 100-odd pages. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Rowling’s true strength as a writer lies in her ability to create vivid and realistic characters. Strike and Robin see much character development in this book, and the new players – Quine’s wife, mistress, agent, editor, rival and publisher – are distinct and well sketched.
The book becomes most engaging past 300-odd pages, when the mystery seems to be unsolvable. Much like The Cuckoo’s Calling, Strike deduces who the murderer is much before the reader, but only shares his deductions right at the end. This can be frustrating for readers who have tolerated him this far and are still not let into the secret. But for those who relish edge-of-the-seat suspense, the wait is rewarding. A most unexpected twist in the end makes the investment into this 455-page tome worth it.
– Aparna Sundaresan

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Volume 4 Issue 2

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