Enjoy fast, FREE delivery, exclusive deals and award-winning movies & TV shows with Prime
Try Prime and start saving today with Fast, FREE Delivery
FREE delivery: Wednesday, June 14 on orders over $25.00 shipped by Amazon.
Ships from: Amazon Sold by: Legacy Books & Media
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
88% positive over last 12 months
+ $3.99 shipping
97% positive over last 12 months
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle for Web.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Follow the Author
The Silkworm (A Cormoran Strike Novel, 2) Hardcover – June 19, 2014
|New from||Used from|
Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
|$7.95 with discounted Audible membership|
Mass Market Paperback
Audio CD, CD, Unabridged
Purchase options and add-ons
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.
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now.
Frequently bought together
"Cormoran Strike is back, and so is his resourceful sidekick, Robin Ellacott, a gumshoe team that's on its way to becoming as celebrated for its mystery-solving skills as Nick and Nora Charles of "Thin Man" fame, and Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander (a.k.a. the girl with the dragon tattoo)."―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"The plot zings along...Swift and satisfying"―Carolyn Kellogg, The Los Angeles Times
"'The last line of The Silkworm, which will lift the hearts of readers who have come to love its deeply sympathetic characters, offers the prospect of more of that joy both for her and for us."―Charles Finch, USA Today (3.5/4 stars)
"A compulsively entertaining yarn."―Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly
"Robert Galbraith... has written a second absorbing whodunit starring detective Corcmoran Strike to follow last year's stealth hit, The Cuckoo's Calling.... Astutely observed, well-paced... The Silkworm thoroughly engages as a crime novel."―Sue Corbett, People
The Silkworm is fast-paced and entertaining... Strike is heroic without intending to be and has a great back story. He's the illegitimate son of a rock star whose half-siblings grew up in privilege... And he's brooding, but not annoyingly so. Strike has all kinds of potential. It'd be a crime not to keep up with him."―Sherryl Connelly, Daily News
"Why is "likable" the first word that comes to mind upon finishing The Silkworm? Surely, that has something to do with Rowling's palpable pleasure in her newly chosen genre (the jig may be up with her Robert Galbraith pseudonym, but the bloom is still on her homicidal rose) and even more to do with her detective hero, who, at the risk of offending, is the second husband of every author's dreams."―Louis Bayard, The Washington Post
"The story is enthralling, not only for its twists and turns, but for the fun of the teamwork.... [It's] a cast of characters who you'll want to meet again and again."―Ashley Ross, Time
"[The Silkworm is a] swift-paced, suspenseful mystery....Robert Galbraith has announced himself a fresh voice in mystery fiction: part hard-boiled, part satiric, part poignant, and part romantic."―Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
"Bring on the next one, please....Galbraith writes with wit and affection for detective-novel tradition (it's impossible not to see her central duo as a modern-day Nick and Nora, minus the marriage), and races us through a twisty plot so smoothly that you won't notice as the hours tick by."―Moira MacDonald, The Seattle Times
"Having just the better part of a day and a night making my way through the 455 pages of The Silkworm ... I must say, I don't mind at all... The murder mystery at the heart of The Silkworm is a genuine mystery with an altogether satisfying resolution." ―Malcolm Jones, The Daily Beast
"[Galbraith] weaves a pleasurably wicked literary murder mystery with all its attendant aspects of publishing politics, from the peevish to the pompous, into Strike's personal and professional lives....Only two books in, and Galbraith's characters already feel like familiar-and welcome-friends."―Daneet Steffens, The Boston Globe
About the Author
- ASIN : 0316206873
- Publisher : Mulholland Books; First Edition (June 19, 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 455 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780316206877
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316206877
- Lexile measure : 970L
- Item Weight : 1.6 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.73 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #86,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1,429 in Private Investigator Mysteries (Books)
- #2,210 in Murder Thrillers
- #6,663 in Literary Fiction (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2021
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Strike is an ex-military policeman who lost a foot in Afghanistan, and is now just turning 36 in this story that begins eight months after the conclusion of the first book in the series, Cuckoo’s Calling.
Strike craves anonymity, much as he had in the army’s Special Investigation Branch, where your background and parentage didn’t matter as much as how well you did your job. But he is one of the illegitimate children of the rock star Jonny Rokeby, and when people find this out they tend to form an opinion of Strike as “no more than a famous singer’s zygote, the incidental evidence of a celebrity’s unfaithful fumble.” Strike has actually only met his biological father once, but he does know his half-siblings, and one of them, Al, helps Strike out in his latest case. In the process, Strike is amazed to discover that Al, Jonny Rokeby’s legitimate son and living a much more charmed life than Strike ever had, is envious of Strike, who has a purposefulness and usefulness that Al never has felt.
This case involves the murder of novelist Owen Quine. Strike had been hired by Owen’s wife Leonora to find Owen after he went missing. Strike does locate Quine, but what he finds is his body, in a very horrifying scene that not so coincidentally replicates a murder from Quine’s last as yet unpublished book, “Bombyx Mori,” Latin for “The Silkworm.” The silkworm, Quine once said, was a metaphor for the writer “who has to go through agonies to get at the good stuff….” Leonora immediately comes under suspicion but Strike is convinced she is innocent, and proceeds, with the help of the intrepid Robin, to prove it.
Discussion: Rowling’s writing is impressive as usual. As the story begins, for example, Strike heads out in the cold for an early morning meeting, and observes
"A huddle of couriers in fluorescent jackets cupped mugs of tea in their gloved hands beneath a stone griffin standing sentient on the corner of the market building.”
What a nicely-done sentence. The couriers aren’t huddling; they are “a huddle of couriers.” The image of the cold is boosted by the fact that they clasp their tea mugs with “gloved hands.” And the alliterative “stone griffin standing sentient” adds a subtle rhythmic appeal to the description.
Strike then proceeds on to the Smithfield Cafe, “a cupboard-sized cache of warmth and greasy food.” Again the alliteration cleverly draws attention to the aptness of her phrasing, as we can picture exactly just what sort of place would have both warmth *and* greasy food.
Rowling pays obeisance to the common tropes of the genre - from noir elements, to Strike’s careful methodical examination of the facts, to having Strike bring all the suspects together in a Christie-like manner to facilitate the unmasking of the killer. But she does not employ the spare prose of the noir writer, exploring the philosophical issues raised by the murder and the suspects as well as just taking us through the solving of the crime.
The object of Strike’s investigation being a novelist affords many opportunities for commentary on the writing and publishing business, which I found a bit distracting. It’s hard to tell whether these are “meta” observations of J.K. Rowling or if they should be considered simply as revelatory of the personalities under suspicion. I was much more taken by the many astute observations made about the nature of love and relationships. One of the authors under investigation, Michael Fancourt, muses to Strike:
"We don’t love each other; we love the idea we have of each other. Very few humans understand this or can bear to contemplate it.”
Later she has Strike rehearsing his relationship with his abusive former fiancée Charlotte, wondering if it fits the parameters of Fancourt's paradigm:
"Perhaps he had created a Charlotte in her own image who had never existed outside his own besotted mind, but what of it? He had loved the real Charlotte too, the woman who had stripped herself bare in front of him, demanding whether he could still love her if she did this, if she confessed to this, if she treated him like this….”
We can believe that Strike loved Charlotte for herself. Her cruel behavior to him serves to illuminate Strike’s steadfastness. In fact, many of the characters act as daubs from a pallet to fill in the portrait of Strike. Strike’s willingness to take on the impoverished Leonora Quine as a client, for example, places into relief his character as a champion of the downtrodden, as well as his disgust and impatience with his usual client pool of “the mistrustful, endlessly betrayed rich.”
Fancourt had also expressed to Strike his belief that men are primarily driven by the need/desire for sex; if a man tells himself a particular woman is “more fascinating, more attuned to my needs and desires, than another,” he is just revealing that he is ‘a complex, highly evolved and imaginative creature who feels compelled to justify a choice made on the crudest grounds.'”
Later in the story, Strike seems to substantiate Fancourt’s theory when he thinks about his sister asking him why he stayed with Charlotte:
"'Why do you put up with it? Why? Just because she’s beautiful?
And he had answered: ‘It helps.’
She had expected him to say ‘no,’ of course. Though they spent so much time trying to make themselves beautiful, you were not supposed to admit to women that beauty mattered.”
What an excellent observation.
Evaluation: J.K. Rowling is a masterful storyteller no matter what name she uses. I very much look forward to more installments of this crime series.
The relationship between these two is really enjoyable to see develop as well as each individual character.
The Silkworm is set in the publishing world. A middle-aged woman, Leonora, comes to Strike’s office to ask for help to track down her husband, Owen Quine; a semi-famous writer, who seems to have disappeared. He’s been known to go off on his own before, but this time he’s been away for ten days without getting in touch. The family situation is getting difficult (they also have a daughter with some problems) and his wife wants him found. Leonora does not seem overly worried that something might have happened to him – she assumes he has probably just gone off on some kind of writer’s retreat, but she does not know where, and she has not been able to find out herself, as her phone calls to people in the publishing world who might know have not been returned. She also mentions, more or less in passing, that there have been some recent unpleasant incidents adding to her distress – someone putting dog excrements through their letter box at night, a strange woman turning up on their doorstep leaving a mysterious message, and another woman following her in the street… Strike decides to take on the case.
One problem with this novel, from reader’s point of view, is that during the first 1/3 or so of the novel, nothing much seems to “happen”; except for Strike arduously limping around a dreary wintry London (he lost half a leg in the Afghan war), meeting various people in the publishing world, and slowly finding out bits and pieces about Quine - all mixed with bits and pieces from Strike’s and Robin’s personal lives, where various developments are also going on. As for the gossip that Strike is gathering from Quine’s acquaintances, it is hard to make out how much is true or false, and what might be important or not.
Then Strike manages to get hold of one of Owen’s previously published novels, and also a secret copy of his last, yet unpublished work. The book proves to have a tedious and gruesome plot full of allegorical names and gory details of a kind I always find it rather tempting to speed-read rather than pay much attention to… In retrospect, though, I must advise readers of this particular book not to skip too hastily through all that, if you want a chance of understanding the rest.
Another piece of advise is not to skip the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. If you take the trouble to look up some of those authors and titles (if you don’t know them already), there are clues there too. (The connecting theme will also be spelled out later within the context of the story, though.)
As I was aware from before, Rowling is also in the habit of hiding clues and hints in the names of characters. In this novel, we’re dealing with double and sometimes even triple layers of that kind, as she lets her fictional writers within the book use similar tactics; although in the more obviously allegorical way, like it was often done back in the 1600s.
At the end, I have to confess I still had difficulties piecing everything together. Even though I did guess at some things, I also realised I had “missed” a lot. But when I went back and reread the first 1/3 of the book again – and especially the parts that I was tempted to just skim the first time – of course the details were there, hidden in all the chitter-chatter that at the time did not seem all that important…
Because of the complexity of this story, with its double or triple plots, and references to old plays using the same techniques – I think this is one novel that could benefit (just like a play) from having a list of characters at the beginning (or at the end). I did not check out the Wikipedia article until after I’d finished the book – to avoid spoilers – but it seems this idea occurred to the authors of that page as well (because they did compile such a list of characters).
I find myself hesitating when it comes to rating the total reading experience – my problem being that I can’t really say I ‘love’ the story as such; but at the same time I do recognise that it is cleverly constructed and gave me a lot to think about. (For one thing, it lead me on to also reading Virginia Woolf's 'Orlando'...)
Top reviews from other countries
Unpleasant and unbelievable characters and a vaguely murky setting that almost has you thinking you're reading some fantasy world story.
I started skim-reading at 85% (Kindle) in a desperate attempt to get it finished, no longer caring who had done it, or why.
Too many characters and the "literary" device of character A telling the reader via a long-winded conversation with Strike what the writer wants us to know about character B (very little by the end, I just wanted them out of my life) is tedious and very Creative Writing Lesson 1 for such an accomplished writer.
In any case, that's me done with Robert Galbraith. The first one was OK, this was like wading through treacle.
What I liked: most definitely the relationship between Strike and Robin. The Detective and his assistant. Also his struggles both physically and financially, and the bad weather. The author made that seem atmospheric. I also enjoyed reading about Robin’s relationship with her boyfriend and her desire to become a sleuth.
What I didn’t like: that it’s not an easy to read book, it’s heavy and often complicated. But amongst the long words, overly detailed conversations, there was a great storyline. At 456 pages, it’s overly long and makes you work because in places it’s too clever. If it hadn’t been for watching it first, I’m not sure I’d have made it through the book
Overall: I liked it, and will read the others in the series, although I need a rest between. Ultimately, there was lots about the book I did enjoy. The author has a great way with words and character descriptions. As in the first book, I loved the use of unusual names. The Silkworm, which is standalone, will appeal to those who enjoy a good ‘whodunit’ and don’t mind the extra detours to get to the end. Would I recommend it? Yes, probably would.
Once again the story focuses on Cormoran Strike as he investigates a murder. This time Owen Quine author has been murdered in the same way one of his characters was murdered in his new manuscript. We then follow Strike as he investigates the murder, Quine it doesn't seem is short of enemies and there appears to be hidden clues in the manuscript.
I found the book odd. Dislike is too strong of a word for how I feel about this book. But there were many things about this book that I didn't like; the snide almost nasty way I felt the author described the press and the "famous" people in the first book are here too with the added bonus of there appearing to be a complete dislike of the literary world. The snippets of the manuscript that we got to read through Robin reading it, were very strange, they were very wacky and confusing and I didn't feel added anything to the plot at all.
I do thing the author has done a good job with the characterisation of Strike and he is intriguing, but he seems to be the only character who has any real depth to them. The story is also well paced, but is quite predictable in places.
Of course I might be one of the few that are not overly fond of these books, but they just didn't gel with me. I don't think I will be reading any more in the series, there was more about this book that disliked than I liked and to me, that usually means it’s time to stop reading in a series. So I won't continue reading.
Silkworm led a merry, twisty-turny, oftentimes gruesome dance, to an ultimately VERY satisfying conclusion, that had me slamming the book closed on the final page going ‘YES! NAILED IT!’, to the chagrin of my then sleeping partner.
Won’t say more for fear of giving anything away. If you like detective novels, you’re going to want to pay close attention to this one.