Endorsed by the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ‘The House of Silk’ has a fine pedigree with renowned author Anthony Horowitz taking on the world’s most famous detective: Sherlock Holmes.
Here we learn that Holmes is dead and Watson has allowed this particular case to see the light of day after a period of one hundred years such was the scandal, corruption and sensation involved.
Set in November of 1890 this adventure concerns a scar-faced man wearing a flat cap stalking an English gentleman, a gang from Boston becoming entwined with the art world and mention of the ‘House of Silk’ which could threaten Victorian society itself. Holmes and Watson must investigate some terrible crimes and will be tested like never before.
This has a far more introspective and reflective Watson. Horowitz’s love and knowledge of Conan Doyle’s consulting detective is clear in his writing. This has plenty of references and tie-ins with other Holmes stories and key events proving that Horowitz was the right man for the job.
This story has a real sense of foreboding and danger. Usually efforts from other authors have seemed almost cosy and formulaic, you know there will be a grisly murder or two but the avuncular pair of Holmes and Watson will solve the problem and save the day in the end; well here the opposite is true, I had no idea what the outcome would be or what the two crime fighting friends would find themselves up against. That is credit to Horowitz’s skill as a writer of crime.
This one is also packed to the rafters with excellent well-drawn and realized characters. These are not the cockney clichés or supercilious master criminals that we have become accustomed to; rather these are three dimensional multi-layered and complicated people. Who can be trusted and who is hiding a terrible secret? Horowitz manages to make everyone interesting and a potential suspect. This works because I found myself paying attention to even the most incidental of characters in case they re-emerged later in the narrative.
The story keeps you on edge and constantly on your toes. This is not a world of comfy slippers, pipes and inviting fireplaces but rather of a cold harsh winter, malevolent fog and menace lurking down every alley. With surprises and revelations aplenty this must also be without doubt the darkest Holmes novel I have read so far.
Horowitz has managed to be both thrilling and inventive and has taken Holmes and Watson to places they have never been to before.
I really hope this is not a one-off project because this far exceeded my expectations and Horowitz has masterfully created an adventure worthy of Conan Doyle with a very dark and unexpected twist.
Published 2011 by Orion Books
Review by Daniel Cann
1 positive reader review(s) for The House of Silk
Nathan from Pamilan
I thought that no one else could write Sherlock Holmes but the original creator. But Horowitz has simply slapped me for making that presumption. The book was just amazing. I sometimes feel easy English makes the reading experience much more engrossing, maybe this author made me feel so. But the greatest achievement is to clearly describe, in simple terms, a picture so complicated that any author would feel compelled to use Shakespearean English. A really good book but the creator of Alex rider
9.5/10 from 2 reviews
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