Since I have not read The Cuckoo Calling, I cannot compare The Silkworm with its predecessor, but I certainly liked it better than The Casual Vacancy, a book I wish I hadn’t read. It was either really boring, or I had no appreciation whatsoever for contemporary British realistic fiction about a small town in which nothing happens. I suspect the latter.
The Silkworm is a mystery thriller in which a murdered author, Owen Quine, whose last unpublished novel of the same name (Bombyx Mori, Latin for silkworm) painted vile caricatures of people he’d known in real life. When he was discovered to be murdered in a manner identical to the murder of the self-insert character of Quine himself in Bombyx Mori, things begin to get interesting, because only a handful of people have read the unpublished manuscript. They also happen to be same people that Owen Quine befouled in his book.
When Strike obtained a copy of the manuscript – through unorthodox means – his reading of Bombyx Mori paralleled my reading of The Silkworm, which I suspect was intentional, especially when Strike began reading during the half time of a football match and missed the resumption of the match due to being engrossed in the book. Very suspicious, if you ask me, for a book published in the midst of the FIFA World Cup.
Also, because someone asked me whether there was any (ongoing) romance in this book, the answer is none. There was no boss/assistant romance, and I think it is great when an author does not feel the need to write an obligatory romantic relationship for whatever reasons.
But speaking of on-going relationships…
‘William and Kate are engaged,’ said Robin.
‘Prince William,’ said Robin, amused, ‘and Kate Middleton.’
‘Oh,’ said Strike coldly. ‘Good for them.’
This amused me.
Strike’s relatives amused me, too:
‘I had to take a call from my aunt,’ said Strike. ‘An hour and ten minutes on the medical complaints of everyone in St Mawes, all because I told her I’m going home for Christmas.’
Don’t we all have relatives like that.
The story dragged for the first 1/3 of the book, after which it became more interesting.
The Lula Landry case from The Cuckoo Calling was mentioned 13 times throughout the book. I think the author is trying to tell us something.
Lots of swearing in the dialogues. Like this:
‘Would you like a tea or coffee, Pippa?’ asked Robin kindly.
‘Co… fee… pl…’
‘She’s just tried to bloody knife me, Robin!’
‘Well, she didn’t manage it, did she?’ commented Robin, busy with the kettle.
‘Ineptitude,’ said Strike incredulously, ‘is no fucking defence under the law!’ He rounded on Pippa again, who had followed this exchange with her mouth agape.
Ending with a random quote:
difficile est longum subito deponere amoren,
difficile est, uerum hoc qua lubet efficias… …
it is hard to throw off long-established love:
Hard, but this you must manage somehow…