cover image The Silkworm

The Silkworm

Robert Galbraith, read by Robert Glenister. Hachette Audio, , unabridged, 14 CDs, 17.5 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-1-4789-8090-2

Once again writing under the pseudonym Galbraith, J.K. Rowling begins her new fair-play whodunit a few months after the conclusion of The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013). Here, London private eye Comoran Strike and his almost aggressively efficient assistant, Robin Ellacott, are searching for the murderer of novelist Owen Quine, the author of a scurrilous roman à clef certain to damage the careers of an assortment of publishing power players if printed. Popular British actor Glenister (MI-5, Hustle) takes on a highly-charged crime puzzle, peopled by a panoply of mainly vile suspects as well as a totally engaging pair of detectives. Matching Rowling’s praiseworthy ear for dialogue, he catches the subtleties—a touch of snark in cocktail party chatter, the arrogance in the voice of the overprivileged, the fear almost hidden in the raspy croak of a chain-smoking literary agent. His Strike shifts from a weary attitude when dealing with his personal life to an air of vitality and confidence when on the job. Robin, too, is at her best when working, sounding bright and on top of things; while at home, her conversation is dulled by her increasing uncertainty about marriage to fiancé. This developing doubt seems justified, since the husband-to-be, as Glenister’s interpretation perfectly captures, is a demanding and humorless bore. A Little, Brown/Mulholland hardcover.[em] (June) [/em]