Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel

The House of Silk is subtitled "A Sherlock Holmes Novel" and was apparently the first to be authorized by the Conan Doyle Estate.  With that kind of endorsement, one would justifiably have high expectations for this novel.  Luckily for Sherlock Holmes fans Anthony Horowitz more than met those expectations.  As to whether Horowitz managed to capture the essence of the brilliant detective and his faithful biographer Watson, with the caveat that I am by no means an expert on Sherlock Holmes, I would say yes, this mostly felt like other Sherlock Holmes stories I've read.  I thoroughly enjoyed this Holmes and Watson.  Even more than the characterizations, where Horowitz's writing really shined was in the plot.  This was a great mystery novel.  I was able to puzzle out a few clues and figured out a few of the smaller mysteries, but I was still taken by surprise by the ultimate ending.

Getting to that ending does take some time and there is a point where it seemed that the story had gotten a little off track.  Kicking off with a robbery in Boston and a gang of thieves, it then moves to London and a country estate.  There is a mysterious man visiting said estate, a murder, an appearance by the Baker Street Irregulars, and more murders, all with the unexplained House of Silk in the background.  For a long while it isn't clear how everything is related, if at all.  This sense of disorder and confusion must have been intentional, for Horowitz through Watson comments, "Perhaps it was the writer in me coming to the fore, but I might have said that it was as if two of my narratives had somehow got muddled together so that the characters from one were unexpectedly appearing in the other." (page 174)  Eventually it all comes together, with Horowitz doing a nice job of tying up loose ends.

I would definitely recommend this to mystery lovers and Sherlock Holmes fans. I also hope Horowitz writes more Holmes novels.

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