Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: The House of Silk - Anthony Horowitz

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
Genre: Adult, historical fiction, mystery, Sherlockian fiction
Published on November 1, 2011
Published by Mulholland Books
Pages: 294
Read From: 9.9.12 - 9.13.12

Cover Blurb: Nothing exciting about it, to be honest. The only thing about it that caught my attention was the declaration that it was a Sherlock Holmes novel; other than that, I probably wouldn’t have paid it any mind.

What I Liked: What’s not to like? Two awesome cases that seem unconnected to one another at first, murder, the dark streets of London, the criminal underworld, a conspiracy involving some of the oldest families in England, Sherlock accused of murder - it’s all good. I really loved it. I especially loved the scene between Watson and the “mysterious gentleman.” Sherlockians will know immediately who the mysterious gentleman is, and I did think the Author actually handled it very cleverly, and I liked that he never actually said who the mysterious gentleman was until the very, very end. It would have been even better if he never had.

What I Disliked: The first chapter does rather feel like it was taken from the beginning of The Cardboard Box, and at times the Author would take a couple of famous Holmesian quotes and reword them so they sounded “new.” It didn’t feel “new” to me; it felt like flimsy attempts to show off his knowledge of the Canon. But this only occurs a couple of times, thank goodness.

Believability: Overall believability was good. The size of the conspiracy and range of the scandal was all convincingly realistic. A revelation of the kind that the story deals with, involving aristocrats, would definitely bring about catastrophe to family names.

Writing Style: The Author does an amazingly superb job in imitating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing style; I was thoroughly shocked at how well he did it, and I cannot applaud him enough for it. The pacing of the story is fast and engaging, with lots of wonderful twists that get tied up nicely in the end.

Content: [Spoiler] The House of Silk is revealed to be a high-end place of debauchery, where men may come and molest little boys. [End spoiler] The Author reveals this very carefully; with no graphic details, while still conveying to the Reader exactly what the House of Silk is. While I do believe the Author could have come up with a different twist, he handled it with extreme delicacy, and it didn’t lessen the story in any way.

Conclusion: The case with the House of Silk and the case with the Flat Cap Gang all get tied together in a very satisfactory manner, and the realistic ending is quite fitting. I did not have high expectations for this book; there are very few Sherlock Holmes spin-off books that are any good. But Anthony Horowitz surprised me, and I must say that I enjoyed this story just as much as I do any of the originals.

Recommended Audience: Hardcore Sherlockians; it will not disappoint. Guy-and-girl read; better for a more mature audience due to the nature of the House of Silk. While no full-out details are given, it’s a mature theme.

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