Surprise and prejudice…

I took the latest Robert Galbraith crime novel home to read at the weekend, on sufferance, I must admit – Galbraith is more famously know as JK ‘Harry Potter’ Rowling. I didn’t read the first one, after Galbraith’s identity was revealed through a series of unfortunate events, just sort of rolled my eyes and thought “Oh yes, her again…”, a thought for which I am now ashamed and humble, as The Silkworm is just excellent! The plotting is tight and skilful, starting off slowly and building tension and suspense as it goes, also, I couldn’t guess whodunnit but when all is revealed the clues are all there. Which is all stuff people said about the HPs so quite why I am surprised that the woman can write, I am not altogether sure. I guess the hoopla around the HPs is obsfuscating and ridiculous, it makes you realise why she has had a go at releasing these novels incognito, to get a fair run.
Part of the fun of this one, for booksters like ourselves, is the setting of bloody murder amongst a coterie of writers and publishers, incestuously tangled in a nasty nest of long-running feuds, twisted loves, fondly-nurtured hatreds and spiteful desperation, stewed in a soup of (not enough) creativity and (not enough) money and (not enough) acclaim. It is a heady, funny, awful, entertaining and fascinating brew, with many suspects and some very pointed remarks about writing and writers, agents and publishers.
Booksellers, and our friends, are, of course, not like this at all…
I really liked Galbraith’s private detective Cormoran Strike, an ex-Army investigator, who lost a leg in Iraq, who likes a pint or three, and unsuitable women, has a dry sense of humour and a famous estranged father who brings unwanted media attention. Galbraith’s comments on the oddness of fame, the smiling competitiveness of the writing world, celebrity and the media are interesting and, one cannot help but suspect, well informed. The characters are realistic – if sometimes a little grotesque  (but can’t we all be, in extremis) – the twists often caught me unawares, I was amused, horrified and surprised and can’t wait for the next one…

If you enjoy crime, don’t let any prejudices you have about Rowling, HP and pop culture phenomenons stop you from picking this one up.

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One thought on “Surprise and prejudice…

  1. So pleased to hear you enjoyed it. I read the first and am definitely hooked for all the reasons you identified. Really looking forward to reading the latest instalment

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