On Wednesday, the first two chapters of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, were published on the author’s website ahead of publication on June 19.
The Silkworm is the sequel to last year’s Cuckoo’s Calling, which earned critical claim and was a commercial success, that is, following Rowling’s outing as the book’s real author.
The two chapters released today feature the main character, private detective Cormoran Strike taking on the case of Owen Quine, a novelist who has gone missing. According to the already-released synopsis, the author is later found murdered, and the book will follow Strike as he tries to find Quine’s killer.
Besides that, many news sources are noting Rowling’s reference to phone-hacking in the first chapter. As The Independent makes clear, the book starts with “Strike supplying details to a journalist of a scandalous affair between a member of the House of Lords and his secretary.” When the journalist asks how he persuaded the woman to talk to him, Strike responds, “I listened.” The reporter says to Strike, “All the other private dicks I use spend their time hacking phone messages,” to which Strike warns that phone-hacking is “illegal,” a statement implying Rowling’s own thoughts on the matter.
Rowling memorably contributed in the trial against the News of the World‘s phone-hacking practices of which she was a victim. At the very least, Strike’s comment is no-doubt a pass on the tabloid’s invasive tactics.