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The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

The House of Silk

by Anthony Horowitz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Anthony Horowitz's Sherlock Holmes (1)

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1,8881235,457 (3.84)1 / 132

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English (119)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (123)
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
Dr. John Watson has one last tale to tell of a case Sherlock Holmes worked on in 1890. Sherlock has passed away and Watson is both elderly and failing in health. Twenty five years have passed since the events he is writing about. Even so, he knows that this case was so sensitive that it is still not time for it to be published. He intends that it be held for one hundred years before publication.

The case begins with Edmund Carstairs, an art dealer, begging for Sherlock's help. He sold some art to an American millionaire but it was destroyed in a train robbery near Boston. The millionaire hires a Pinkerton and posts a reward for the capture of the gang that robbed the train and destroyed the art. While most of the gang was captured, one member escaped and killed the millionaire. Carstairs fears that the surviving gang member will be coming for him next.

Carstair's case is just the beginning of the adventure which leads Holmes and Watson to discover a criminal enterprise that is so shocking and monstrous that it tests both of them almost to their limits. When one of Holmes' Baker Street Irregulars is tortured to death, Holmes brings his intellect to bear on a crime that is closer to him than most of them.

The writing was very much in tune with the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It takes us to Victorian London that comes alive through Watson's lush descriptions and Victorian sensibilities. Holmes is there in all of his glory and Watson is there to chronicle the actions and act as an appreciative audience for the great detective. I liked that this one has Watson looking back and recalling his great friendship with Holmes. ( )
  kmartin802 | Mar 28, 2019 |
Antony Horowitz is without a doubt an excellent crime writer, one just has to look at his writing resume to see that. But moreover, he has an obvious love of Conan Doyle’s original stories. The House of Silk is a novel devoted to an accurate portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, Horowitz’s enthusiasm shines through, in a voice that speaks with great fluidity. In fact I’m quoting him here from his conception, inspiration and the ten rules of writing The House of Silk: “When I was asked to write the House of Silk, I realised that this would be the key. I had to become invisible. I had to find that extraordinary, authentic voice.” Well, in my opinion Horowitz does that and more, he invisibly keeps the fun factor in Sherlock, keeping us quietly smiling all the way through.

I loved reading crime novels as a teenager and reading The House of Silk seems to have taken me back to my teenage self, and my love of this genre. I was a huge fan of Raymond Chandler, and Agatha Christie, so it takes no Sherlock deduction to know that this love has been well and truly rekindled!

The House of Silk is told from the perspective of Sherlock’s trusted friend Dr. Watson. An air of secrecy surrounds the case of The House of Silk with many notable and powerful people wishing that its horrific and secretive nature remain forever hidden. Even though Sherlock Holmes is warned in no uncertain terms by his brother to stay out of it, Holmes disregards this advice, thriving on yet another challenge. The nature of the investigation is so horrific that it was recorded by Watson at the time, but is only revealed a century after the death of his esteemed friend Sherlock Holmes.

The year is 1890, the case begins with the familiar surroundings of 221B, Baker Street, with Sherlock enjoying, “a large plate of scones with violet honey and cream, along with a pound cake and tea,” all very familiar and nice, but in stark contrast with a crime of such gruesomeness, as you will see, if you read the novel.

Mrs. Hudson’s tea, scones, pound cake, honey and cream sounds wonderful, we all need a Mrs Hudson I reckon!

At a later point Mrs Hudson ushers in Edmund Carstairs, an troubled Art Gallery owner, with a nervous disposition, who is disturbed by the sudden appearance of an Irish gang member that in the past damaged his paintings. Edmund Carstairs believes that this man, a member of the flat cap gang, is out to get him. Holmes calls upon his young street urchins, including Wiggins, to assist him in his investigations, and is shocked to find that one of them is brutally murdered too.

Be aware that Horowitz loves killing off people, its one of his self-confessed fortes!

Holmes shows a touch of remorse at allowing the young lad to get involved, in fact he is so disturbed by this turn of events that he becomes even more determined to bring the killer to justice.

This ultimately leads to Holmes arrival at an Opium Den, his framing, and arrest on suspicion of murder himself. Watson has to come to his friend’s rescue, he must be the one to get him out of prison, so that Holmes can find the killer, and solve the mystery of the ailing Carstairs family. In comparison to the superior intellect and keen wit of Holmes, Watson feels overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy. I will not tell you how, or if, Holmes manages to escape that’s for you to find out!

The nature of the crimes committed at The House of Silk are so shocking that even the most hardened of criminals wishes to help Holmes, and then Watson to solve the case. In the meantime, Carstair’s sister is suffering from some strange malady, poison is suspected, and the two stories begin to intertwine, and the final result is both shocking and gripping. Watson’s deep affection for his friend, and Holmes witty, dry, repartee, and amazing powers of observation and deduction, are all there to delight, and enthrall the reader. There is a deep sense of the social concerns, and shocking depravities that were allowed to exist at this time, making this a Sherlock Holmes novel with a different standpoint, a modern social conscience.

The book is longer than the original Conan Doyle stories but still manages to keep the reader entertained throughout. The House of Silk covers two interconnecting cases, The Man in the Flat Cap and The House of Silk. The Flat Cap appears to be a more traditional Conan Doyle type story, whereas the House of Silk, reads more like a modern day crime story, but the two work brilliantly well together. With some stunning reveals at the end of the case.

The usual characters make an appearance giving validity to the story: Mrs Hudson, Wiggins, Inspector Lestrade, Mycroft, the Baker street irregulars as well as a whole host of new characters, including Mr Carstairs, Carstair’s American wife, Carstair’s sister who hates Carstair’s wife, Cornelius Stillman, an American millionaire, The Boston gang, led by the O’Donaghue twins, The reverend and his wife who run a home for orphaned, unfortunate boys, and a brief spell with Moriarty. There are plenty of exciting moments to keep the reader on his or her toes, I particularly loved the travelling fun fair episode.

There is a sequel, Moriarty, that I very much look forward to reading too.

My rating: 4.5 stars. Loved it!! Highly recommended to readers of detective, crime, mystery and thriller.

Full review at https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-house-...
( )
  marjorie.mallon | Mar 27, 2019 |
A fantastic addition to the Sherlock Holmes expanded universe. Author Horowitz blends elements of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic stories into a cleverly plotted double mystery. As with Magpie Murders, I became so engrossed in the case nested inside the initial investigation I almost forgot the first one existed. ( )
  wandaly | Jan 8, 2019 |
Worthy Conan Doyle successor
Review of the Audible Audio edition narrated by Derek Jacobi

I might be overrating this 2011 Holmes adventure somewhat as I read it in tandem with Caleb Carr's extremely boring "The Italian Secretary" (2006) in a small catch-up of not-so-recent Sherlock Holmes pastiche fiction. Nevertheless, there is no question that Horowitz is much truer to the original characters and provides a much more thrilling plotline.

I notice also that Horowitz is now the officially commissioned continuation author of 2 iconic British mystery/thriller series with his Holmes ("Moriarty" (2014) is his 2nd one) and his James Bond ("Trigger Mortis" (2015) & "Forever and a Day" (2018)).

The narration by veteran actor Derek Jacobi was outstanding throughout. ( )
  alanteder | Nov 28, 2018 |
Horowitz does a good job with this Sherlock Holmes mystery novel. I am actually not a huge fan of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, and arguably Horowitz does it even better. The book is significantly longer than a Doyle story, and Horowitz uses this extra space well, to show the characters and spin out the plot. Horowitz emulates a late 19th century writing style, but does not ape it; he keeps a modern twist. His plot and descriptions of the setting also have a little extra modern perspective that I think makes the novel more interesting. It is a good mystery—solvable in theory from the information you're given, though I didn't solve it myself. A very little action, enough to spice it up. The story focuses on Holmes and Watson, with a few cameos. I would have liked to have seen a few more characters developed. ( )
  breic | Nov 4, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
So, all of the elements are there: the data, the data, the data. Nothing of consequence overlooked. And yet can Horowitz, like Holmes, make from these drops of water the possibilities of an Atlantic or a Niagara? Can he astonish us? Can he thrill us? Are there "the rapid deductions, as swift as intuitions, and yet always founded on a logical basis" that we yearn for?

Emphatically, yes. The characters are, as Conan Doyle himself would have them, as close to cliché as good writing allows. Horowitz's Watson cleverly excuses himself right at the start from any complaints about style or content by reminding us of Holmes's oft-stated judgment of the stories: "He accused me more than once of vulgar romanticism, and thought me no better than any Grub Street scribbler." We must take them on their own terms, then: Mr Carstairs, the troubled dealer in fine art, who is being watched by a mysterious stranger in a flat cap with a "livid scar on his right cheek". Carstairs's wife, the mysterious foreign adventuress. Cornelius Stillman, the bumptious American millionaire. The dastardly Boston Irish gang, led by the ruthless O'Donaghue twins. The madwoman in the attic. The creepy reverend who runs a home for boys. The big set-pieces: the train robbery; the escape from prison; the freak show; the high-speed horse-drawn carriage chase.

Dorothy L Sayers understood the rules of the Holmesian game when she remarked that "it must be played as solemnly as a county cricket match at Lord's: the slightest touch of extravagance or burlesque ruins the atmosphere". Horowitz plays a perfectly straight bat. This is a no-shit Sherlock.

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Horowitz, Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jacobi, Sir DerekNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wardle, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my old friend, Jeffrey S. Joseph
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I have often reflected upon the strange series of circumstances that led me to my long association with one of the most singular and remarkable figures of my age. If I were of a philosophical frame of mind I might wonder to what extent any one of us is in control of our own destiny, or if indeed we can ever predict the far-reaching consequences of actions which, at the tie, may seem entirely trivial.
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Book description
Haiku summary
The Game is afoot
Baker Street Irregulars
Lead dangerous lives

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316196991, Hardcover)

For the first time in its one-hundred-and-twenty-five-year history, the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate has authorized a new Sherlock Holmes novel.

Once again, THE GAME'S AFOOT...

London, 1890. 221B Baker St. A fine art dealer named Edmund Carstairs visits Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson to beg for their help. He is being menaced by a strange man in a flat cap - a wanted criminal who seems to have followed him all the way from America. In the days that follow, his home is robbed, his family is threatened. And then the first murder takes place.

Almost unwillingly, Holmes and Watson find themselves being drawn ever deeper into an international conspiracy connected to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston, the gaslit streets of London, opium dens and much, much more. And as they dig, they begin to hear the whispered phrase-the House of Silk-a mysterious entity that connects the highest levels of government to the deepest depths of criminality. Holmes begins to fear that he has uncovered a conspiracy that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of society.

The Arthur Conan Doyle Estate chose the celebrated, #1 New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz to write The House of Silk because of his proven ability to tell a transfixing story and for his passion for all things Holmes. Destined to become an instant classic, The House of Silk brings Sherlock Holmes back with all the nuance, pacing, and almost superhuman powers of analysis and deduction that made him the world's greatest detective, in a case depicting events too shocking, too monstrous to ever appear in print...until now.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:32 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

With approval from the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a best-selling novelist and Sherlock Holmes expert brings the greatest detective in literary history back to life on Baker Street for the first time since 1930.

» see all 8 descriptions

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