Its a corker of a mystery

The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith
Sphere, June 2014, 464 pages 

Novelist Owen Quine has gone missing and his wife wants Cormoran Strike to bring him home. She does not want to go the Police as Quine has a habit of disappearing and she is not sure they will take her seriously. As Strike begins his investigation he discovers that Quine’s latest manuscript is a thinly veiled disguised attack on publishing elites and if the novel was made public lives and careers would be ruined.  That is the mystery part of the novel and it is gripping. There are twists and turns, clues and red herrings cleverly placed throughout the novel. You really want to know who done it.
Yet there is a second level in this novel that works better, in my opinion than the mystery and that is the character of Cormoran Strike and his relationships with those around him. Cormoran is real to the reader and you really do connect with him. What Galbraith (Rowling) is very good at is relationship building between characters. The dynamics between Cormoran and Robin are fantastic and so well weighted in that it does not take over the novel.  Robin comes off the page in this novel and her struggles with managing career, partner and expectations are wonderfully realised.  You have a real sense of the difficulties she is facing and there are even hints of what may come in future books. The sparse moments that Charlotte comes back in Cormoran’s life are perfectly placed and add that extra level of complexity.
All the characters in this novel are given real depth, even the shallowest of the characters has a backstory that makes them lift off the page. It would have been easy to allow the character Fancourt just to be a stuck up superficial snob but Galbraith does not allow that to happen. He is given complexity and that is clever writing.
The other character in this novel as in Cuckoo’s Calling, is London itself. Galbraith loves London and it comes through the pages. You feel you can walk the streets with Cormoran, catch the subway, sit in the pub and drink a pint with him.
Some may get frustrated when Cormoran announces he knows who did it but does not tell us! That made me groan thinking what have I missed but the clues are there.  Just needed to put them together and they are so subtle. The thing is I think that sometimes the reader is treated like an idiot and the clues are made so obvious that you know very early how the mystery will end. Galbraith does not treat you like an idiot all the clues are there you have to think outside of the box to find the answer.
There is a lot to like about this book and I am looking forward to another well thought out crime mystery.
One thing that did amuse me is having being outed as the author Rowling’s name is nowhere to be seen on this book. Not sure why that is.
There is a website for Robert Galbraith you can check out. 

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