I had read the second novel in Cormoran Strike series by J K Rowling, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, some months back, but only now came to write about it. A delay like this has an advantage, it filters out all the unimportant factors about the book out of the writing. The opinions tend to be more balanced and thought out. Now that everyone are aware who the author is, one novelty of the first novel is worn off. What I expected from The Silk Worm was two things. Some more elaboration of the major characters- Strike and Robin, like how they take their first success and how they grow as characters. Secondly a great story.
Following their success Strike and Robin are now more steadily employed, though most of the cases are quite unchallenging. One day a lady approach him asking to find her missing husband, who turns out to be Owen Quine, an out of luck novelist whose latest manuscript gets leaked. The novel Bombyx Mori, translated as Silk Worm is actually an abusive rant on several people with whom he collaborated in past. During investigation Strike find the dead body of Quine. It is evident that he was murdered in the same way the lead character of the manuscript, who was modelled on himself, is killed. Strike has to identify the killer from seven suspects whom Quine has parodied in the novel. Parallel to this story line, another story is told- Robin is varied of Strike's attempts to limit her to office jobs while she wants do investigation. Robin's suitor's dislike of Strike and her job is another barrier for both of them In functioning as a team.
The mystery is just great. Each and every twist was for me very much unpredictable and convincing. The writer is successful in showing that even literary world, that look quite placid from outside, is not free from petty envies and ego clashes. Colorful characters, all of them, add to the enjoyment of reading it. The manuscript of Quine, which essentially forms the skeleton of the mystery is embedded masterfully to the narrative. Slowly, when the crime unfolds, author changes the mood of the narrative darker.
One unpleasant aspect of The Cuckoo's Calling was the repetition of certain factors in its narrative. In The Silk Worm, the trend made me feel the length of the novel. For example the handicap of Strike was established in the first novel itself. In this novel, every instance he ventures out, a mention about this is made. If he is outside for investigation, he is made to suffer endlessly due to his cripple. Even the places were the tension between Robin and Strike is described, we find the same issue. If these issues weren't there reading this extra long book would've been a cakewalk for me.