Review of The House of Silk (Sherlock Holmes) by Anthony Horowitz

The House of Silk – Review

The New Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz

Rating – 5/5

It’s hard to imagine a weightier responsibility than what Anthony Horowitz faced when he was asked to write the new Sherlock Holmes novel. Holmes is one of the–if not the–most famous detective in fiction. Arthur Conan Doyle created a unique character and plenty of unique mysteries and with the movies, TV shows and other spin-offs, Holmes has become a phenomenon.

But Horowitz pulled it off. As far as I can tell. I haven’t read any of the Conan Doyle Holmes stories, but I’ve seen the movies and the TV shows and from what I can tell Horowitz has kept to the spirit of Doyle’s work.

Holmes and Watson are the thing he had to get right, and Horowitz nails it. Their characters are exactly what you expect from watching the shows and movies–and from other reviews they’re pretty true to the original books, too. The camaraderie is there, the banter, and Holmes is enigmatic, annoying and brilliant. Like in some of the original stories, Watson narrates through first person and it’s interesting to see the story and Holmes’s character from his perspective.

This might be set in Victorian London, but Horowitz hasn’t limited himself. The pace is fast and there are plenty of gripping set pieces along the way. Including (mild spoiler) a final horse-drawn carriage chase.

The setting of Victorian London is almost a character in itself. Horowitz takes Holmes and Watson through gritty streets, harsh storms, luxurious mansions and seedy carnivals. Horowitz gets description down pat, and there’s just enough to make things palpable and not too much to make it hard to read.

The mystery itself has enough side-plots and twists to keep it interesting, even if it does get a bit predictable towards the end. It’s hard to think of another way to resolve things, but having Holmes explain everything did feel like a huge info-dump. But with mysteries, it’s hard to resolve things another way, and from what I know of the TV shows, movies and books, it’s done the same way.

Overall, this is a rip-roaring mystery with pace, wit, twists and a solid set of main characters. It’s also addictive and I’m looking forward to reading the follow-up Moriarty, and hopefully more sequels in the future.

Highly, highly recommended – especially if you’re a Holmes fan, but also if you’re just looking for an entertaining, well-written mystery.

Has anyone else read this, and if you’re a fan of the original Holmes stories, what did you think?


About Sam Whitehouse

Sam spends most of his time in a different world to other people. If it isn’t one he’s created himself, it’s one he’s reading about. In the rare moments when this isn’t the case, Sam can either be found addicted to a sci-fi or crime show, re-watching Marvel movies, finishing up an assignment for his final year of studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, or trying to get the dozens of ideas for stories in his head under some kind of control. Sam has lived in the same small village in Yorkshire, surrounded by countryside on all sides ever since he could remember. His childhood saw him get into plenty of scrapes climbing trees and crossing rivers and generally believing he was Indiana Jones. Sam gives credit to his Grandad for him wanting to be a writer, and his bedtime stories for keeping Sam’s imagination stoked. But credit must also go to Steven Spielberg, J K Rowling and Stephen King, who have provided plenty of inspiration over the years, too. Sam writes what he reads, and that is pretty much anything—save romance. Fantasy, thrillers, or crime: once an idea takes root, he can’t stop until the world, characters, and plot are on paper. A huge Marvel fan, Sam one day hopes to pen a screenplay for one of their movies, or direct one, or do anything at all related to one. Until then, he’ll stick to his own fantasy worlds and wait for Marvel’s phone call.

Posted on 05/21/2015, in book review and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Viper and Plum

    Oh man I wonder how it’ll hold up next to the actual written stories? Going on my to-read list for sure.

  2. I’ve heard that for books written years ago, the writing style is pretty modern.

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