The Silkworm


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 . . .

The Silkworm is the second book in the Strike series. It was published on 19th June 2014 under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Since J.K. Rowling had already been revealed to be the real author of the series, the second book in the series sold better than the first book within its first few weeks.

The idea for the plot of The Silkworm came to Rowling around six years before its publication (2008) and came to her before the first published book, The Cuckoo’s Calling. Rowling decided to make The Cuckoo’s Calling the first book to serve the overall story, being a high-profile case that would launch the detective agency’s success enough to bring more clients in.

J.K. Rowling mentioned in the Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival interview with Val McDermid that she gave the character Owen Quine the same typewriter model that she used to write Harry Potter in the early days.

During location research at the Smithfield Cafe, which features in chapter 1, Rowling was spotted whilst her husband was eating the full English breakfast. A man walked in and said, “Someone said J.K. Rowling was in here. I wouldn’t know what she looked like” and walked out again. Rowling said this was the first time during her location scouting for the first two books that she was spotted by someone.

Explore the Story

Robert Galbraith in Conversation with Val McDermid (2014)
Spoiler Synopsis – For those who need a refresher.

Read about The Cuckoo’s Calling (book 1)

Read about Career of Evil (book 3)

Read about Lethal White (book 4)

Read about Troubled Blood (book 5)

Read about The Ink Black Heart (book 6)

Read about The Running Grave (book 7)