The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith (aka J K Rowling), Little Brown and Company, 2014, 455 pp
Second in the Cormoran Strike detective series by J K Rowling (writing under a pen name), The Silkworm got off to a slow start for me. The magic in the relationship between Detective Strike and his office girl Robin seemed to have fizzled out.
Meanwhile Strike, short on money as usual, overworked and in constant pain from his prosthetic leg, gets a new client. A famous author has gone missing and his long-suffering wife hires Strike to find him.
Though it took almost 99 pages to set up the whole thing, Rowling brought all kinds of threads together making for a breathless read to the end. I remembered that some of the Harry Potter books also had leisurely starts and then took off. She is quite amazingly good at plots.
The author turns up murdered, his agent and publisher have enough oddities between them to sufficiently confound the story, and Strike's relationship with Robin goes through plenty of change and development.
In her first volume, Rowling/Galbraith explored and exposed the evils of celebrity culture. In this one she lampoons the publishing industry. The dead novelist had just completed a manuscript divulging the worst about almost everyone he knew and there is even a leak about the forthcoming book by some loose lipped woman. Rowling gets her revenge, Strike and Robin get the murderer, and Robin gets what she has wanted all along.
(The Silkworm is available in various formats by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)