Rummanah Aasi
 With the rise of the popularity of Sherlock Holmes on the big and little screen, I have gotten more student requests for good mystery novels. I trying to beef up my mystery collection with adding some current mystery titles. I came across positive reviews of Anthony Horowitz's The House of Silk and thought I would give it a shot.

Description: In freezing London, November 1890, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson receive a man unnerved by a scarred-face stalker with piercing eyes. A conspiracy reaches to the Boston criminal underworld. The whispered phrase 'the House of Silk' hints at a deadly foe.

Review: The House of Silk is a story that features Sherlock Holmes and his famous sidekick Dr. John Watson and has been officially authorized by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's estate. I've always been weary of reading books and short stories that feature Holmes other than the original tales, but I actually really liked The House of Silk as it kept my attention throughout the story.
  The story has a melancholy atmosphere which is perfectly suited to the rainy, cold Victorian London which we associate with the beloved Baker Street characters. This case, like the original stories, is narrated by Dr. John Watson and takes place a year after Sherlock Holmes's death (from natural causes). Watson recounts a case they shared in 1890 that was too grotesque and too shocking to appear in print. 
  The game is afoot when London art dealer Edmund Carstairs asks for the great detective's help after a shadowy figure in a flat cap, apparently an Irish-American thug bent on revenge, surfaces near Carstairs's Wimbledon home. When a murder follows Holmes getting involved, the trail leads him and Dr. Watson to a powerful secret society known as the House of Silk. There is plenty of action in the plot with nice plot twists and surprises. I intentionally didn't want to try to solve the case with Holmes, but rather took the passive approach and see how it all unfolded. Horowitz stays true to the famous characters from their narrative voices, presence, and actions. Watson has a prominent role in solving the case, becoming a true partner in the case rather than the comedic effect he is known to be in several adaptations. Horowitz also adds a bonus layer to the well done mystery by tackling the social and economic issues in Victorian England.
  While I wasn't a fan of Horowitz's Alex Rider series for young adults, I was definitely impressed by this book. I highly recommend it for readers who love mysteries or Sherlock fans who need something to fill in the gap between the next Sherlock tv season to read this book. I will be looking forward to reading Moriarty by Horowitz and am curious to see what he does with Holmes arch-nemesis. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong violence, at times gruesome, along with slurs and language. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz, Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye, Sherlockian by Graham Moore
6 Responses
  1. I was just remarking on another blog that featured a Jane Austen book that was kind of like this. I am not always a fan of other authors taking up the mantle for famous works because they rarely capture the voices right. It sounds like this one overall worked for you, though.

  2. Although it's been a while since I read a Conan Doyle, I thought Horowitz did a good job with the Sherlock atmosphere, pacing and characterizations. Didn't realize there was a Moriarty. I'll have to check that out. I also recently read one of Laurie King's books about Sherlock -- The Beekeeper's Daughter is the first, but I read the new one. I found that one to be entertaining too. Thanks!

  3. Kindlemom Says:

    I have been a sucker for Homes since first being introduced to him long ago for an English assignment so I'm totally with you on them needing to hold true to the originals. I'm so glad this did that for you. I think I might have to read this one too. Great review!

  4. Oh I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I've been curious about the books they have authorized and I do want to read this one.

  5. My brother loves the Alex Rider series, Rummanah; and since you were so impressed by this, do you think this would be a good recommendation for a thirteen-year-old? I'm not sure how into Sherlock Holmes he'd be - I personally have never read any books about him - but it's possible he'd be willing to read this one if it's written by Horowitz.

  6. Jenny Says:

    Can you believe I've never read a Sherlock Holmes book, original or otherwise? I feel like I need to remedy that asap! I love all the tv shows based on Sherlock, so I have little doubt I'd enjoy the books as well. Maybe I should start with this one:)

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