A new Holmes book, written by acclaimed author Anthony Horowitz and endorsed by the Conan Doyle estate? Could it be--that frustratingly elusive non-canonical Holmes book that is actually good?Yes.
Let it be known I've pretty much given up hope when it comes to new Sherlock Holmes
books. I love Laurie King
, and if her books are more about Holmes' new partner--well, at least they're engaging and I don't feel like the great detective has been replaced with an alien. But most other books ring hollow, and supporting characters like Watson are turned into bumbling imbeciles.The House of Silk
does a fantastic job matching the tone of the original stories, and Horowitz's characterization is superb. Watson, who--as usual--is both narrator and character, is one of the rare Watsons who doesn't make me fantasize about throttling him. Lestrade, who also makes a few appearances, is similarly well-written.
My main problem with the book is that it almost feels like a stunningly still
story. Watson is very involved--indeed, I almost want to say that he's too involved, and thus we don't get to see Holmes in action as much as we should.
Obviously, in stories that follow the normal Holmes format (i.e., Watson's first-person narration and retelling), it has to be a balancing act between Watson himself and the man we actually want to read about. In this case, Holmes was often with
Watson, but there were times when a definite lack of action or slow-down just sucked the energy out of the story.
And yet, I'm glad that the book had well-written characters (DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO FIND A DECENT WATSON?!), and as far as writing style goes, it's incredibly close to Conan Doyle. It definitely deserves the estate endorsement, and for Holmes fans it's a must-read, if only from the library.