Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (The new Sherlock Holmes Novel)

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz was a surprise find for me. It was delightful news to hear that someone 'officially' got the endorsement / permission to write a Sherlock Holmes novel. Now the thing to be seen is how well the new author has done his job of writing a full length gripping Sherlock Holmes novel keeping the original essence of Conan Doyle writing intact. Anthony has successfully retained the writing style of Conan and it was a pleasure reading it. I also realized that this is the only full length Sherlock Holmes novel since Conan Doyle only wrote 56 short stories and 4 long stories; never did he write a novel with Sherlock Holmes. 
It was nice to see all the usual characters of Sherlock Holmes stories play a role in this novel. Usually, Conan stories did not involve too many of the regulars but Anthony was not restricted by the short story format so he was able to include all the characters – Sherlock Holmes and Watson (of course), their landlady, the Baker Street Irregulars, Mycroft, Lestrade, Watson's Wife … with each given a significant space in the novel.
There are some unique touches in the story telling in the acknowledgment of characters like the landlady and the Irregulars who only get a passing comment in Conan stories. Anthony also gives us a different facet of Lestrade; which was interesting to read.
The storyline itself is a pretty interesting with a simple case coming to the doorsteps leading to a larger and more dangerous case which poses a threat to Sherlock's life. The two stories seeming divorced from each other have certain linkages which get revealed only in the final pages of the novel. This story is also a unique case of Sherlock being implicated for murder and sent to the jail. Another unique thing is the brutal murders that are part of the story.
There are several murders in the story but the gruesome murder of certain characters sends a chill up your spine and that gives the novel a unique character which is so unlike Conanical Sherlock.
The climax of the major case (the House of Silk) is pretty horrible and ugly. The horror that grips you as you see the climax unfold is something one has never experienced in Sherlock Holmes novels. And then we go back to the minor case from where it all started and it has an equally interesting climax … and then the two connect. It's like a major case cocooned inside a smaller one.
It was a very good novel to read and I enjoyed it. The certain unique points elaborated above made it pretty interesting and different.  I would certainly recommend it to any Sherlock Holmes fan out there.


  1. No its not right to say that Conan Doyle did not write Sherlock Holmes novels. Infact he wrote four-Hound Of Baskervilles, Valley of Fear, Sign of Four, A Study in Scarlet.

  2. @ Aakaanksha,

    I consider the 4 from Conan as Novellas or long stories or short novels ... since they were all less than 100 pages.

    I personally put novels in 200+ page length ... thats why i said that Conan did not write full length novels.