The Silkworm: Part I
Written by Tom Edge
Directed by Kieron Hawkes
Adapted from the book by Robert Galbraith
The Case: Missing Author Owen Quine
A woman cuts out an article entitled “Father Dearest.” She pins it to her chest and puts her head in an oven.
Robin wakes Strike in the middle of a dream about his ex, Charlotte. A new client, Leonora Quine, wants to track down her husband at a writer’s retreat. Strike calls but quickly discovers he’s not there. Leonora explains Quine has disappeared before but usually for a tryst with another woman; she suggests that Quine’s agent, Liz Tassel, foot the bill for the investigation.
Strike visits Tassel. He learns she dropped Quine as a client due to the content of his latest manuscript, Bombyx Mori. Early in her career, Tassel’s clients included “literary rebels” Quine, Andrew Fancourt and Joe North. After North died, he left his home on Talgarth Road to Quine and Fancourt, though neither one uses the house.
Over drinks, Robin introduces her fiancé Matthew to Strike. The conversation is stilted but the couple invites Strike to their wedding.
Through Robin’s research, Strike finds Katherine Kent, a former student of Quine’s who received an advance copy of the book. Though they were once lovers, Katherine says tells Quine “can go to hell.”
Strike meets Orlando “Dodo” Quine, Leonora and Quine’s daughter. She has a learning disability and a propensity for stealing household items. Leonora has only heard from Tassel, Quine’s editor Jerry Waldegrave, and Quine’s publisher Daniel Chard. Strike learns Waldegrave recently resigned from his job at Chard’s company.
Finding the Bombyx Mori manuscript difficult to follow, Strike gives it to Robin to review and heads to visit the Talgarth Road home. Inside he discovers Quine’s disemboweled body. Robin recalls that in the last chapter of the book a grisly murder takes place in the same way.
Richard Anstis, the detective at the crime scene, believes Leonora committed the murder: She and Quine had been fighting and Leonora was one of the few people who had access to the Bombyx manuscript.
At the Quine house, Dodo is upset about her dad’s death and the investigation. The police discover photos of Quine in compromising sexual positions, and Leonora reveals he liked to be tied up. She’s worried Dodo will be taken from her.
Robin learns that Matthew’s mother had a stroke and died. Though Strike tells her to take as much time as she needs, Robin decides to drive him to Devon to see Chard, and meet Matthew at the funeral later.
Chard suspects Quine wrote Bombyx Mori with someone else — in addition to the writing style, characters in the story have traits that Quine could not have known. Chard doesn’t want the book published and says he’ll pay 10,000 pounds if Strike can prove who wrote it.
The publisher provides more history saying Tassel harbored an unrequited crush on Fancourt, and told everyone Quine was a genius. He also mentions that Fancourt’s wife killed herself over a parody of her work. Chard suggest Strike investigate Waldegrave, the editor.
Fancourt leaves a voicemail for Strike saying he hasn’t read the book and doesn’t plan to. He has nothing nice to say about Quine.
Robin is upset Strike plans to take on another investigator. Though Strike appreciates Robin’s work, he doesn’t want her to ruin her relationship over a job like he did. Robin indicates she’s ready to make the personal sacrifices the job entails. To avoid traffic, Robin drives through farm fields and makes it to the station on time to get to the funeral.
The main suspect in her husband’s murder, Leonora is taken away from her daughter by police, leaving Dodo distraught.