The Silkworm: Part II
Written by Tom Edge
Directed by Kieron Hawkes
Adapted from the book by Robert Galbraith
Robin watches a television interview with Andrew Fancourt, noting he calls his deceased wife “Effigy,” a character in Bombyx Mori, instead of her real name, Ellie.
Strike doesn’t think Leonora is sophisticated enough to have plotted the crime. While visiting her in prison, he finds out Fancourt has keys to the Talgarth Road house.
After the death of Matthew’s mother, Robin visits his family in Cornwall. Matthew learns Robin drove Strike to Devon while he organized the funeral. He blames Strike for her absence, but Robin admits it was her decision to stay and work.
Robin comes home to investigate the Fancourt lead, but when Strike hurts his leg, the two head to a pub to nurse his wounds instead. Showing off her sleuthing skills, Robin wishes Strike a happy birthday — she knows his passport number.
Strike has lunch with Tassel. The literary agent confesses she wanted to be a writer, but quit when Fancourt called her work “derivative.” When Quine wrote a cruel parody of Ellie Fancourt’s book years ago, Tassel kept him as a client and lost Fancourt’s business. She grows upset when Strike asks if she is in love with Andrew.
With Strike’s leg still in pain, Robin offers to tail Fancourt. He visits Ellie’s grave, and picks up a piece of paper with the parody of her book on it. Someone seems to be taunting — or blackmailing — him.
At a party celebrating Fancourt’s return to Roper Chard Publishing, Robin chats with him about Bombyx. He belittles his former friend, and says both Quine and his wife were failed writers.
On a visit to Waldegrave, Robin and Strike learn Tassel never recovered from Fancourt’s rejection. Waldegrave mentions that semicolons are used throughout sections of the Bombyx manuscript and in 20 years, he never knew Quine to use one.
Strike talks with Quine’s former lover Katherine. She says Quine loved her, so his “staggeringly painful” depiction of her in his book doesn’t make sense.
A restaurant server tells Strike that Quine and Tassel had lunch on the day Quine went missing. She says they got into a loud argument, but Quine seemed like he was acting.
Robin goes to Quine’s house and discovers a typewriter ribbon in Dodo’s bag of stolen items. Strike and Robin examine it and see that in the original work, Quine used regular names for characters — not the baroque archetypes that appear in the later version.
Strike gets a literary analyst to examine Quine and Fancourt’s work: It’s clear the person who wrote the book also wrote the Ellie Fancourt parody.
Strike and Robin drop in on Chard, Waldegrave, Fancourt and Tassel at a restaurant. The investigator declares that Owen Quine was not the author of the parody or the final version of Bombyx, but both match the style of a short story Tassel wrote earlier in her career.
Quine knew Tassel wrote the parody and blackmailed her for 30 years: She retained him as a client and paid his family’s expenses to keep the truth under wraps. The lunch encounter was staged for publicity and he was to go hide at the house afterward. Tassel went to his home to comfort Leonora and took all evidence of the real Bombyx but missed the typewriter ribbon. Tassel makes a run for it, but Robin catches up with her. Quine’s intestines were discovered in Tassel’s freezer, confirming her guilt. She is arrested, and Leonora returns home to her daughter.
Strike offers to pay for Robin to sign up for a surveillance course: They are officially partners.