The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The basics

Title: The Silkworm


Series: Cormoran Strike #2

- The Cuckoo's Calling (2013)
- The Silkworm (2014)
- Career of Evil (2015)
- Untitled

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Goodreads Summary:

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before...

Read a full summary of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith below. If you can’t remember what happened in The Silkworm and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

in short

Strike and Robin are doing really well with the business. Strike is asked to look for Owen Quine – a writer who has gone missing. It turns out that the guy is dead, and Leonora, Quine’s wife, is framed for the murder. The murder scene is just like a scene in Quine’s leaked manuscript. While all this is going on, Robin gets a bit upset because she doesn’t want to just be a secretary, she wants to become an investigator. She tells Strike this and he says Matthew won’t like that. Matthew and Strike meet and it goes horribly. Anyway, Strike meets Fancourt and comes to a conclusion about the case. It turns out that Elizabeth, Quine’s agent, leaked a fake manuscript and killed Quine, and then framed his wife. She’s arrested, and more importantly, Strike gets Robin some investigative training courses for Christmas. OTP.

what happened in The Silkworm?

  • Strike’s business is doing better after the Lula Landry case from The Cuckoo’s Calling. Thankfully. Leonora Quine asks Strike and Robin for help finding her husband, Owen Quine, who’s a writer.
  • Quine previously wrote and published a very successful novel, but none of his other works have done nearly as well, and so he’s pretty much been forgotten about.
  • Strike discovers that Quine’s new manuscript – Bombyx Mori – has been leaked. This likely has something to do with his disappearance.
  • In the book, the main character is eaten alive by other characters who are based on people Quine knew in real life. Quine thought these people ruined his career.
  • Strike meets Matthew, Robin’s fiancé that no one likes. Matthew dislikes Strike because he’s a jealous bastard.
  • Strike goes investigating and finds Quine’s body in an abandoned house. The body has been pulled apart and doused in acid. Charming. This reflects a scene in Bombyx Mori.
  • Strike starts to look into the seven people who Quine wrote about in the book. Among which are his wife, Leonora, his lover, Kathryn, his agent, Elizabeth, and his rival, Michael Fancourt.
  • The police think Leonora is the killer but Strike is like nah, you’re all idiots.
  • The suspects all start to turn on one another.
  • Matthew and Robin’s relationship grows tense because Matthew is an arse. Matthew’s mother dies, and so they put off the wedding. Robin lies to Matthew about helping Strike with the case.
  • Robin asks Strike what exactly it is that she’s doing here. She doesn’t want to be a secretary; she wants to become an investigator. Strike says that if she becomes one, then she’ll have to do things that Matthew won’t approve of.
  • Strike starts to focus on Fancourt. Fancourt’s wife committed suicide after her novel was bashed by critics and a parody was released. Fancourt thought Quine wrote the parody.
  • Kathryn and Pippa’s information tells Strike that there are major inconsistencies between the draft of Bombyx Mori and the manuscript that was leaked.
  • Strike thinks that the manuscript was written by a ghostwriter. He realises that the book is based on someone else’s life and Quine is an antagonist.
  • Strike confronts Fancourt at an author’s event. This is just a distraction, as Strike really suspects Elizabeth Tassel.

how did it end?

Tassel arrives, and it’s revealed that she was an author before she became an agent, and she’s the one that wrote the parody of Fancourt’s wife’s novel. Quine discovered this, and started to blackmail her for twenty years. Tassel agreed to stage his disappearance to gain publicity, and then she rewrote his manuscript, murdered Quine, and tried to frame Leonora. Tassel runs, but she’s caught easily because Robin and Strike saw this coming. The real Bombyx Mori is found. Strike visits Robin and he gives her a Christmas gift – an investigative training course.

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