Review – The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)

by Mugdha Wagle on June 25, 2014

The Silkworm

Author: Robert Galbraith
Publisher: Hachette India
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9781408704035
Rating: ★★★½☆
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The second Cormoran Strike novel gets its writer an ‘Exceeds Expectations’ O.W.L. Share this on twitter!

Deftly plotted, intricately detailed and with much better character development than its predecessor, The Silkworm is a must-read in the best traditions of British detective fiction.

Cormoran strikes again. (Couldn’t resist. Tried really hard, but I couldn’t.)

This time around, instead of high fashion, highbrow literature is the scene of the crime – literally. A not-so-famous writer disappears soon after submitting a dangerously libelous manuscript which rocks the publishing world while it mocks its denizens. Not long afterwards, he is found murdered exactly like the hero in that last novel – with his body cleaved open, his intestines missing, and seven plates and cutlery neatly arranged around his corpse.

The characters are equally promising. Each suspect is presented in turn, and each of them might fit the bill – the eccentric stubborn long-suffering wife. The voluptuous wannabe writer girlfriend. The mean bitchy animal-loving literary agent. The repressed gay publisher. The unhappily married editor. The chauvinistic pseudo-intellectual Booker-winning author (my personal favourite – JKR’s mockery is spot-on.)

Interspersed with crime-solving are the other elements of the plot – Cormoran, the one-legged Afghan veteran faces hostility from the official police force for ‘showing them up’ in his first case. Robin, his secretary, hopes her boss will see her potential as an investigating partner and offer her training, but is frustrated by his apparent lack of perspicacity. She also has to deal with a less-than-completely-supportive fiancé who cannot understand her professional ambitions and is jealous of her war hero boss who keeps being mentioned in the newspapers. There is a smattering of literary criticism – examples of the writing found in British tabloids, wannabe writer blogs, comments under those blogs, writing by bad highbrow writers, interviews of good highbrow writers – which are so accurately-yet-subtly worded that they become critiques in and of themselves.

Cavilers and nit-pickers will find some things to crib about. Being a relentless re-reader of the Harry Potter series myself, it amuses me to notice that JKR has a few stock characters that she reuses: the publicity-shy hero who is great at imaginative leaps while connecting the dots but whose temper sometimes gets the better of him (is Private Detective the Muggle equivalent of Auror?), the loyal, efficient, maternal-yet-feminist sidekick (with Wikipedia instead of Madam Pinch’s library to her rescue), her immature fiancé who is resentful of the famous hero (but with glimpses of better nature hidden deep inside). The denunciation of the idle rich (mostly depicted as snooty, social-climbing, class-conscious and either blissfully oblivious to or willfully uncaring about the less fortunate in society) is also a constant theme, and frankly, it gets a bit repetitive. Fans of literary fiction could also find the predominance of adjectives overwhelming.

But all said and done, The Silkworm more than hits the target. Those looking for well-crafted whodunits are advised to grab this one fast and try guessing who done it. In the best stiff-upper-lipped traditions of the Detection Club, the book is littered with clues, and the truly sharp will be able to spot the murderer early on. Alas, I cannot count myself amongst those brainy few; I was flummoxed right until the end. Perversely, however, this contributed to my satisfaction. Isn’t being hoodwinked by a well-crafted murder mystery part of the fun?

Written by Mugdha Wagle

Kitabi Keeda of the most obsessive sort. When she’s reading something, interrupt her only if you have life insurance! Discovering a fantastic new author can move her to tears. Loves trekking, adores animals and venerates good food (eating it, not cooking it :))!

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Abhishek Naik June 26, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Very well described 🙂

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 4:37 PM

We appreciate the feedback, Abhishek! Do read the book and let us know your thoughts on it…

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jeevan June 26, 2014 at 11:04 AM

good review

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Thank you, Jeevan. Do read the book and leave your own thoughts on the book here…

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Yavnika Sood June 26, 2014 at 11:20 AM

gud rview

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Thanks very much, Yavnika… read the book and leave your own mini-review here!

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Neeti Choudhari June 26, 2014 at 11:32 AM

I will start with The cuckoo Calling first then proceed to read Silkworm 🙂 Great review 🙂

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Mugdha June 26, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Neeti, check out our review of Cuckoo’s Calling… that one was pretty good too. Though I personally felt this one was better … esp. because in that one, I figured out the culprit on my own, but in this one I couldn’t 😉

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Neeti Choudhari June 27, 2014 at 8:19 PM

Sure thing! I will read both, wait till I get my pocket money. 😉
And yes, both the reviews are great 🙂

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Mugdha June 27, 2014 at 11:03 PM

Thanks, Neeti, glad you liked the Cuckoo’s Calling review too!

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Malvika Mayur June 26, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Seems pretty interesting! Would love to read it!

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Definitely, Malvika. If you’re a mystery novel fan or a Harry Potter fan, this one will keep you glued till the end.

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Vinodini Iyer June 26, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Sounds good! Have to read this one 🙂

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Yes, it is definitely well worth a read. Do leave your comments here after you finish reading…

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Nimmu Nimmagadda June 26, 2014 at 3:54 PM

The review is great and set me ablaze with excitement.. Brilliant play..

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Thanks Nimmu… read the book and leave your comments about how you found it!

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Rohit Dhamija June 26, 2014 at 6:52 PM

Sounds good! Have to read this one 🙂

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Definitely, Rohit. Grab your copy soon.

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Shilpa Bindlish June 26, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Seems interesting plot..worth a read. Wanna grab a copy for myself 🙂

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 10:06 PM

Certainly worth a read, Shilpa. Leave your own mini-review here after you read the book…

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Abhinaba Mukherjee June 26, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Sounds nice.. Have to check it out.

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Definitely check it out, Abhinaba. It’s well worth spending an entire weekend reading… (it’s a big book… 400+ pages…)

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Reema Michelle D'souza June 26, 2014 at 7:31 PM

Seems to be an interesting read. Got to check it out soon. JKR rocks!

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 10:09 PM

JKR certainly rocks in this one, Reema. If she continues in this vein she’ll have another Harry Potter-like success story with Cormoran Strike!

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Sushma P June 26, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Going to add to my TBR list.

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Cheers, Sushma! 🙂 Leave your own thoughts about the book here, after you finish reading…

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Priyadarshi Das June 26, 2014 at 7:37 PM

Really A Brilliant Book & Obviously Must Have A Copy , A In Depth Review.

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Do read the book and let us know what you think, Priyadarshi…

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Bisileesh P.B June 26, 2014 at 8:54 PM

Was literally waiting for this after cuckoos calling!!

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 10:11 PM

In my opinion, this one is WAY better than Cuckoo’s Calling… do read it and leave your own mini-review of the book here, Bisileesh…

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Nithi Nishipadma June 26, 2014 at 10:17 PM

Woohoo, I was so waiting for it to read

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 11:19 PM

Do tell us whether you like it after you read it, Nithi!

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Aparna Singh June 26, 2014 at 10:46 PM

Can’t wait to read it!

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IndiaBookStore June 26, 2014 at 11:20 PM

Go grab it soon, Aparna! And don’t forget to leave us a mini-review here after you read it…

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shivangi kataria June 26, 2014 at 11:40 PM

A critically crisp review.. Sounds nice.

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IndiaBookStore June 27, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Thanks Shivangi! Do read the book and leave your own comments here…

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Kavya Seetala June 27, 2014 at 12:59 AM

Can’t wait to read.

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IndiaBookStore June 27, 2014 at 8:46 AM

Weekend is coming up Kavya… perfect time to grab the book! You won’t regret it. Do leave your own mini-review here, once you’re done reading the book…

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Sanjay Rajak June 27, 2014 at 9:13 AM

truly mysterious..have faith in d author imaginaton as well as the creative points of the story..

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Mugdha June 27, 2014 at 10:57 PM

Absolutely, Sanjay… JKR’s imagination and her ability to make the reader suspend disbelief is really her strongest asset as a writer. This book made me think of my favourite Harry Potter book, i.e. Prisoner of Azkaban. I simply loved it!

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Pratikhya Alexis June 27, 2014 at 12:28 PM

it seems that JKR has given us another hero to sing praises about……… love Cormoran Strike!!

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IndiaBookStore June 27, 2014 at 10:59 PM

Definitely, Pratikhya. Cormoran Strike is a hero/anti-hero who has the potential to capture public imagination just as much as Harry Potter did.

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amruta June 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Waiting to lay my hands on this book 🙂

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IndiaBookStore June 27, 2014 at 10:59 PM

Do leave your comments about the book once you finish reading, Amruta! 🙂

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Sonal June 27, 2014 at 4:59 PM

wonderful, seems worth reading.

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IndiaBookStore June 27, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Certainly worth a read, Sonal. Let us know what you think once you finish it.

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Madhu June 27, 2014 at 5:08 PM

nice one

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IndiaBookStore June 27, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Thanks, Madhu!

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Shreenath June 27, 2014 at 5:12 PM

wanna read it

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IndiaBookStore June 27, 2014 at 11:01 PM

Do get it soon, Shreenath, and leave your own opinion of the book here…

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Aishika Chakraborty June 27, 2014 at 6:09 PM

awsome

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IndiaBookStore June 27, 2014 at 11:01 PM

Thanks, Aishika…

Do leave your own mini-review here after you finish reading the book….

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Aman Mittal June 27, 2014 at 10:27 PM

It will be a good read then!

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IndiaBookStore June 27, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Most definitely, Aman…

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