“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…”
-Synopsis from back of the book
As you know, I’m currently participating in the Strike Readalong, which leads up to the release of the newest book, Troubled Blood in September. This was my second time reading The Silkworm and my thoughts are below.
Full disclosure right now: I have always said that this was my least favorite book of the series so far. The main reason being that the intricacies surrounding both Owen Quine and his literary circle are difficult to follow and frankly quite repulsive.
There is so much focus on Owen Quine’s novel and how disgusting it was. I couldn’t help wondering, on the first read and again on the second read, if all of that detail was necessary. He could easily have had enemies in the literary world without the provocative writing being added into the mix. I know it served a purpose when it came to trying to get inside his head, but it was so grotesque.
Robin and Strike’s story continues to develop in this book and that is something I enjoyed seeing for a second time. I forgot how fussy Robin would get whenever Strike appeared to be shutting her out of things. He has a point though, in that she is marrying someone who hates what she does for work, so how can he possibly involve her in the investigations more than she already is? Although Robin has shown Strike that she has a talent for investigation, she had to express to him her commitment to taking on more responsibilities.
After their extremely frank conversation in which Robin expresses all of this, near tears because of how much it means to her, they reach an agreement that suits them both, and we get what is perhaps my most favorite line from Strike, delivered in the Burger King where he and Robin stopped on their way back from an interview.
They’ve just established that Robin will take on more responsibility and with that settled, Strike declares:
“Then cheer the fuck up and eat your burger.”
For the second time around that scene made me laugh out loud. I remember the delivery of that line being just as funny in the BBC series, too.
I want to be completely honest about the fact that I was more than halfway through this book when J.K. Rowling spoke up about some touchy subjects again, and unfortunately that really impacted my reading of this book. I will continue reading the Strike books however, because I so enjoy this series, and Robin and Strike have become some of my favorite fictional characters. I wonder if any others re-reading the books have experienced the same difficulties? It’s would be hard to ignore at this point.
Goodreads rating: Five stars.