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The House of Silk
A Sherlock Holmes Novel
Anthony Horowitz

1 November 2011 / ISBN: 9781409133827
Historical Mystery / 1890 / London
Amazon US || UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Anthony Horowitz is a name well known to everybody who enjoys a good mystery on TV. He is responsible for many of the Poirot and Midsomer Murders scripts, for creating the award-winning Foyle’s War and various children’s novels. Now he turns his attention to adult fiction, and has produced a Sherlock Holmes novel with the full endorsement of the Conan Doyle Estate. It begins, like many others, with the two detectives sitting on a cold winter’s night munching tea by a roaring fire. Into this cozy milieu comes a man with a case. Art dealer Mr Carstairs tells the pair that he is being stalked by a man with a scarred face, and so the story begins…

The game’s afoot! It is all in here from sinister stalkers to mysterious underworld haunts, baffling murders and opium dens in Limehouse, strange clues and whispered mentions of the house of silk. It is told, of course, in Dr Watson’s own words, and the author makes a good fist out of getting the tone right as well as the relationship between Holmes and Watson, as well as some very Anne Perry contrasts between high and low life. Mr Horowitz has also decided that many people know the Holmes stories better from TV adaptations than the printed word. To aid their understanding, he has slipped in various descriptive mentions of how the pair met, Mrs Hudson, Watson’s wife, Lestrade etc, which I think is a good idea.

As to the story itself, I confess that I did guess virtually all of it but enjoyed it nonetheless; it truly is just the sort of book to curl up with in front of a fire on a winter night and would make an ideal Christmas present. This is quintessential Holmes with pretty much all the ingredients you would expect to find in one of the Conan Doyle stories although minus that spark of the truly bizarre that makes their original writer’s work shine over a hundred years after it was written.

Reviewed 2011
© 2011