Galbraith's Silkworm extract released

Galbraith's Silkworm extract released

J K Rowling has returned to her theme of the destructive powers of the press in the second Robert Galbraith crime novel, The Silkworm (Sphere).

A two-chapter extract has been made freely available online ahead of publication on 19th June.

The extract shows the return of ex-soldier turned investigator Cormoran Strike, alongside his secretary Robin, and this time he's dealing with seedy journalist Dominic Culpepper, to whom he's passing documents that discredit a British peer, at the behest of a spurned mistress who had turned to Strike for help.

The mistress "shaking, besotted, bitterly betrayed", with a "savage desire for retribution against a man who had promised her marriage and children", wants her lover's wrongdoing exposed, but a heartless and rapacious Culpepper would happily involve her directly in the published story, damaging "herself and her prospects beyond repair". Strike prevents the journalist from releasing the woman's identity, and also deflects a half-hearted attempt by Culpepper to push him into doing an expose of his own family story, as the son of famous singer Johnny Rokeby.

Rowling's first Galbraith novel, The Cuckoo's Calling, the tale of a murdered supermodel, also addressed media harassment, in the context of celebrity.

The novel's theme proved particularly pointed, as Rowling's identity as the true author of the novel was revealed by the press within months of publication, following a leak from the law firm who then represented her.

Image by Debra Hurford Brown