Not to go all Shakespeare on you, but I wonder if there will come a day when speculation will arise concerning how many people actually wrote all of the books attributed to J.K. Rowling. She burst into the public consciousness with the Harry Potter series, and followed it with The Casual Vacancy, a quiet, modern-day gem set in two English villages. I never reviewed it but, for the record, I loved it and hope she writes more free-standing novels.
The Silkworm is the second book in her mystery series starring Cormoran Strike, and written under the name Robert Galbraith. (The first was The Cuckoo’s Calling, reviewed here.) She says she wants this series to have more than the seven installments in the Potter series – to which I say, “Keep writing!”
Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott are back – still trying to keep their hands off each other, and in the middle of solving another murder. And this murder is a 10 on the Most Hideous Murders You’ve Ever Imagined list. In fact, it’s so gruesome that it becomes almost ridiculous, which makes it pretty easy to take. The story is set in the world of publishing, with all its crazy egos and personalities, from outlandish authors to agents and publicists who should have been dead years ago given the amount of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs they ingest. It is impossible to read all the petty backbiting and backstabbing and not conclude Rowling is having a fine time giving back what she probably got on her rise to worldwide fame. The Whodunnit List is long and entertaining, though it’s not hard to figure out who the perp is if that’s your thing. Personally, I was in it for the ride and perfectly happy to let it unfold in its own time.
As always, her writing is superb and artfully pits the grimy side of London against the sparkling light that targets the rich and wealthy. She’s a master.
The Attentive Reader in me is addicted to seeing where the action happens, and Rowling cooperated by providing addresses and intersections at a number of pivotal moments. Do yourself a favor and google them – particularly the spectacular row houses where the murder occurs. The creep factor is even better when you can see where it happened.