Review: The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel

The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel
The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First book I’ve read this year. It’s an easy read, I read it over a night and an afternoon.

Tackling such an iconic author and set of characters is always going to be a difficult situation for any person, no matter your credentials. So kudos to Mr Hororwitz for giving it a go.

On the whole, he got the flavour right. I enjoyed 80% of the book. He did his research; nothing in the Victoriana of his England seemed glaringly out-of-place. The first part of the book has the right flavour of language and yes this book could sit well among the other Sherlock Holmes stories on my shelves. The first of the two stories is fairly straightforward, easy to work out using Conan Doyle’s literary mechanisms (great writing there! I was thrilled at that!) but then it all seemed to go a little off the rails in the second half of the book.

The clandestine meeting between Watson and You Know Who is absolute fanboy rubbish and serves absolutely no narrative purpose whatsoever. The who scene appears to be there so Horowitz could fanboy! Please rip it back out and put it back in a second novel where it fits! Where was your editor????

And the whole purpose of the House of Silk? The handling of that subject matter is commonplace now, but Conan Doyle would not, could not have written about it. To me again, that places this book into the fanboy category NOT a book that could be part of the series. That lets it down.

Those two segments move it to a three out of five for me. Those two items moved this book from one that initially, I was prepared to stack next to my Conan Doyles – to at the end, was merely a fanboy letter.

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5 Responses to Review: The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel

  1. tiffstitch says:

    Thanks for the review. I enjoy Sherlock Holmes novels. Have you read any of the Laurie R. King books? I love her writing. Her books are narrated by Sherlock Holmes young, female partner. She’s a feminist in the 20s, an interesting time.

    • Mel says:

      Interesting premise – I’ll give them a go 🙂 As long as they don’t expect to be part of canon (as this one did) I’ll even consider them in terms of their own merit. I love a lot of historical mysteries 🙂

      • tiffstitch says:

        I do find them interesting. The author writes as if Sherlock Holmes was in fact a young man in the 1890’s when he was solving the crimes and that Conan Doyle was Watson’s literary agent, so in the 20’s Holmes is only 50ish. They’re all after the Conan Doyle stories, so not trying to be anything they’re not, if that makes sense?

        She also has another series based on a modern detective in San Francisco and some stand alone books that I’ve enjoyed.

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