Reading an author at the peak of his/her career is like getting access to unrivalled pleasure. Especially when you have somebody like Rowling, though as a ghost writer, writing about the detective Cormoran Strike and his young assistant Robin, the fun just doubles. Readers will burst with sheer exuberance.
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith is a murder mystery. The book stands firm with the aspects like smoothness of writing, relaxed tone, and the interesting detailing of a city. Reminiscent of terrific speakers, who would take you on the wings of their words and transport you to a place which is the nearest kind of bliss one can experience. This book doles out the similar feelings.
In the story there is a deliciously gory murder, and a slew of abominable characters, any of whom the reader would have loved to be the murderer. But the fun lies elsewhere. Rowling gives an almost insider view of the self-serving navel-watching self-loving world of publishing. And all the characters that move in that circle - the established authors, the fledgling ones, the agents, the editors, the owners, the rivals - and all of them fighting for authors, attention, promotion, women, men, and the delightful viciousness of it all.
It's quite cleverly done, like a film within a film, with the murdered author being the author of a book full of poisoned portraits of a host of industry characters. One can literally see Rowling chuckling as she penned this inside story.
Rowling treats each chapter as a set-piece, as she unravels the intricate threads of the murder. There is a classical English family dinner, where the hostess considers it her entitlement to know the inside story of an affair; the absolutely hilarious scene of a couple with two painful kids, who to the absolute horror of Cormoran, want a third; a lovingly described lunch at a quintessential English pub; a road trip which almost proves to be fatal; a drunken, gossipy party celebrating a publishing house's coup of getting an author; and so on and so forth. Each piece moves the story forward, whilst allowing Rowling to lovingly create ambience. London has been featured extensively. It is in the agony of its coldest winter, and there is treacherous snow and treachery out in the streets: one gets chilled to the bones.
And then there are two parallel and subtexual tracks, which add considerably to the heft and charm of the book. One is of reminiscence and endings, of Cormoran's abortive love affair with a heartbreakingly beautiful girl. In a short passage, she is shown to be getting married, and there is a SMS and there's a photograph. Suffice to say, there is an incredible amount of despair and grit written in with ideal skill.
And the second track is the ever on-the- edge relationship between Cormoran and his young assistant Robin, who is, regrettably, betrothed and soon to be married. The exasperation and the exhilaration of the relationship have a scrumptious balance.
Following the success of Rowling's Harry Potter books; she took up writing detective series under a pen name starting with Cuckoo's Calling and now this. She is a brave writer, unflinching in her dissection of sorrow and purpose, and the frailties of strong men, and the self-centeredness of despairing women. It is expected that Cormoran Strike will be featured in seven more books, indeed a treat for detective genre lover and her fans.