Galbraith delivers another solid private detective story with The Silkworm and solidifies Rowling’s pseudonym as one of the best voices in mystery fiction. The Silkworm is a literary mystery, a down on his luck author writes a scalding book that criticizes all the people working in the business. When he doesn’t return home after a prologued absence from home, something he often does, his wife contacts Cormoran Strike to find him.
Galbraith opens up the story with a rather simple plot that grows rather complex as the descriptions in the book connect to the possible suspects that are involved in Owen Quine’s disappearance. Quine, a man with a past and not the greatest of fellows, is a great individual to center this mystery around. I personally liked the literary aspect of the story, meeting different authors, agents, and publishers while finding out how seedy the literary atmosphere in London happens to be.
Strike is one of my favorite private detectives in this genre of writing. He is a larger man with a prosthesis for a leg. Strike is straight-forward and doesn’t necessarily like the company of people at times. His focus is almost always on his cases but his relationships are important to who he is. Robin, his secretary, wants to be a private detective like Strike, and she is constantly seeking his approval. Strike thinks that Robin has the mind to be a P. I. but he doesn’t know if she can sacrifice her upcoming marriage for the job. This creates a great teacher/student type of dynamic between Robin and Strike that is founded in mutual admiration for each other but also one that makes Strike a bit uncomfortable. I just really enjoy Strike’s character and he reminds me of myself at times. I’m a rather large guy and it is nice to read about a large guy solving crimes.
Galbraith’s writing is what carries these books. The step by step approach to these mysteries, attempting to solve the case along with Strike, is what really draws me to these books. Where some mysteries hide a lot of information from the reader, Galbraith gives us a lot of the facts but doesn’t describe what those facts mean until much later in the story. I like that we follow our private detective from sun-up to sun-down until the case is solved. There are few instances of the story jumping forward in the time frame and I really like that in my mystery books. The book is written in great detail and Galbraith uses 3rd person narrative switching seamlessly to showcase the feelings of all the main characters.
If you like detailed mysteries, give this series a try. If you like a lot of romance in your mysteries, this isn’t one where you will find that. The focus of these books is talking to everyone involved and putting together a plausible hypothesis to what happened to the victim. Strike then needs to figure out how he can prove what he surmises. Robin is a strong sidekick-like character that is treated with respect by Galbraith and Strike’s gloomy or reserved demeanor just kind of grows on you. A good book for all mystery fans.
17/25 Possible Score
4 – Plot
4 – Characters
2 – World Building/Setting
4 – Writing Style
3 – Heart & Mind Aspect(mind)