The Silkworm

     

The cover on the left is from the first hardback issue in 2014 and the right cover is the paper issue of the same year. I read the cheaper paper issue.

It’s a good book but I have a couple of issues. It is too long at 455 pages. Not everything in the story needed as much description as it got. Personally, I think she could have cut 150 pages. And by ‘she’, I mean JK Rowling writing as Galbraith.

I also had the feeling that she built up the symbolism too much. It all fit the nature of the story but it bordered on bragging that she could create so many images.  I also have a minor issue with the main character’s name, Cormoran Strike. Cormoran is alright since he is a giant of legend, but Strike seems a bit over the top for the hero. I know, nit-picking.

The story: Strike is hired to find and bring back a husband who has been gone for two weeks, longer than any of his other disappearances. The man lost is Owen Quine, author of disturbing books, irresponsible human, repeat adulterer.  As he searched, Strike discovers that Quine intended to publish a book called Bombyx Mori, which is the scientific name of the domesticated silkworm.

Quine’s murder is discovered, finally, in chapter 16. It is especially brutal and graphic, and it matches Quine’s description of a death at the end of  Bombyx Mori. Most of the remaining 34 chapters has Strike wandering through blizzards, real snow as well as clues.

Credit to Galbrith/Rowling, we readers find two of the most important clues early in the search, in fact, before the discovery of the body. But they are so cleverly revealed that you will probably miss them just like I did.

Even with the stated problems, it was a good read. Her descriptions are solid if too long. Her plot was complex but I hung in. Her characters often repeated themselves but I skipped through them.

I’ll give it a 3 star rating.

Mike Lawrence

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