Leonora Quine, the wife of missing author Owen Quine, is Strike’s client in The Silkworm. She approaches Strike instead of the police after her husband had been missing for ten days because Quine typically disappeared for days at a time only to turn up at his girlfriend’s, and the police had been annoyed in the past when she had called them about it. Plus, Leonora knows Strike is a good detective because he had solved the Lula Landry case when the Met couldn’t.
Leonora is described as being slight, middle-aged, mousy, plain and shabby, with a West Country accent. She invariably wears outdated clothes and glasses, and resembles the British serial killer Rose West.
Additionally, Leonora is stubborn, generally grumpy, socially awkward and somewhat obtuse, with a “flat, deadpan manner.” She often fails “to produce what others felt was appropriate behavior” and speaks her mind abruptly without any thought to how she might be perceived by others, an inconvenient character trait in someone whose husband has been murdered. However, Strike is quite sympathetic toward Leonora, viewing the practically friendless, devoted mother of a learning-disabled daughter and long-suffering wife as innately (but often unwisely) honest.