Monday, November 7, 2011

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (and more on Sherlock Holmes)

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz is a new Sherlock Holmes novel, which is the first officially sanctioned take-off of Sherlock Holmes by the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate.  This is the second Sherlock Holmes book that I have written about recently (see my review of A Study in Sherlock here).  For the Sherlock Holmes lover, this is a must read.  For everyone else, I'd  highly recommend it.

Anthony Horowitz is a famed writer of young adult action novels (the Alex Rider series) and also an acclaimed writer of the PBS series Foyle's War (a must see for mystery lovers/WWII buffs).  His connections to Sherlock Holmes and the Canon were not as established.

Conan Doyle had a distinct writing style (somewhat sparse on detail of Victorian life but more than enough to fill the canvas) and created vivid and memorable characters.  Although Holmes solved his share of murders, he also solved all kinds of other crimes and mysteries.  Creating the perfect pastiche requires echoing Conan Doyle and remembering that Holmes was not a superhero (as he is portrayed in the Robert Downey, Jr. movies, which I did enjoy (preview for the new movie below)).

In The House of Silk, Horowitz gets it right on all counts.  The tone, the writing, the characters and even the plotting matches up beautifully with Conan Doyle.  Horowitz also brings back other minor characters from the Canon for non-distracting cameo appearances, which is a delight for lovers of the Canon.  Yet, Horowitz makes Sherlock his own, creating a story with a bit more action than Conan Doyle gave us, which will keep you glued to the book.  The story is a classic tale of Holmes and Watson, with Watson as the narrator.  Watson writes the story after Holmes has passed away and seals it away for one hundred years because the story is to explosive to be shared during their lifetimes.  From there, the story unfolds with two unrelated story lines, the action builds and Horowitz captures your imagination. If like mysteries at all, this is one not to miss.  If you love Sherlock Holmes, this is a must read.

On a related note (and to avoid another post in the near future about Sherlock Holmes), there is a great new book about Conan Doyle as a writer, called On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling by Michael Dirda. Besides Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle wrote many other books (adventure, historical and supernatural stories).  Dirda, a long time lover of Sherlock Holmes, writes a short piece on Doyle as a writer.  He  not only expands on Conan Doyle the writer but he also shares his own interactions with Sherlock Holmes and the Canon.  While this is a great book, this is best suited for serious students of the Canon or writers looking to learn more about great writers. 

Book Trailer for The House of Silk:

2011 Sherlock Holmes Movie Trailer:

1 comment:

  1. I agree, both important books: I'm reviewing House of Silk for the Toronto Globe & Mail and On Conan Doyle for the L.A. Review of Books. Thanks for mentioning A Study in Sherlock!

    Les Klinger