The House of Silk
by Anthony Horowitz
London, 1890. 221B Baker St. A fine art dealer named Edmund Carstairs visits Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson to beg for their help. He is being menaced by a strange man in a flat cap – a wanted criminal who seems to have followed him all the way from America. In the days that follow, his home is robbed, his family is threatened. And then the first murder takes place.
THE HOUSE OF SILK bring Sherlock Holmes back with all the nuance, pacing, and almost superhuman powers of analysis and deduction that made him the world's greatest detective, in a case depicting events too shocking, too monstrous to ever appear in print.
The House of Silk opens with the retired John Watson penning a final case from his retirement home. By now Holmes is dead but we are all soon back in 1890 as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are visited at 221b Baker Street by a gentleman that begs Holmes for help, recounting the tale of a scar-faced man who seems to be stalking him.
The suitably intrigued Holmes is soon in for a difficult time and the challenges are not just intellectual ones in this plot which is both labyrinthine and unpredictable.
As this is an officially endorsed story it’s fair to say that nothing too unexpected will be revealed regarding the beloved Holmes and Watson. In fact, in this 2017 paperback edition Horowitz includes his ten rules to keep his writing faithful to the original stories. To get around the restrictions a truly authentic feeling replica would have provided, Horowitz has a plan: Watson tells us early on that this case is so disturbing and vile that he has no choice but to consign his account to his solicitors' vaults. This lets us know that we can perhaps expect a more violent or sinister version of the old tales, but as it turns out we shouldn’t be too concerned.
Conan Doyle’s novels were nowhere near the length of this one. And yet, the pace barely lets up, perhaps because two stories are told - The Man in the Flat Cap and The House of Silk. They overlap and converge in a clever way.
The House of Silk is an exciting, thoughtfully-crafted novel that has the feel of Conon Doyle’s originals of which this is a fine homage. Dr Watson's tone of voice is captured, the foggy Victorian London setting is suitable atmospheric, and the explanations/reveals satisfy. It'll entertain Skerlockians new and old.
About Steph Broadribb:
Anthony Horowitz is the author of the number one bestselling Alex Rider books and The Power of Five series. He has enjoyed huge success as a writer for both children and adults, most recently with the latest adventure in the Alex Rider series, Russian Roulette and the highly acclaimed Sherlock Holmes novel, The House of Silk. His latest novel, Moriarty, is also set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and was published in October 2014. Anthony was also chosen by the Ian Fleming estate to write the new James Bond novel which will be published next year. Anthony has won numerous awards, including the Bookseller Association/Nielsen Author of the Year Award, the Children’s Book of the Year Award at the British Book Awards, and the Red House Children’s Book Award. In 2014 Anthony was awarded an OBE for Services to Literature. He has also created and written many major television series, including Injustice, Collision and the award-winning Foyle’s War.