K. O'Bibliophile's Reviews > The House of Silk

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
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's review
Jan 03, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: sherlock-holmes, mystery
Read from October 06 to 09, 2012

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?


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.

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Reading Progress

10/06/2012 page 33
11.0% "There's a telegram that includes an apostrophe in a name ("O'DONAGHUE") and a question mark ("CAN YOU COME?"). This strikes me as odd. "How to Write Telegrams Properly" published in 1928 says that punctuation is usually skipped or spelled out ("?" = "QUERY") because the punctuation costs and it's difficult to transmit. Or is this my brain picking on things that are accurate because it's something I don't see often?"

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