I have to admit. I was skeptical about picking up this book. It claimed to be a new Sherlock Holmes novel.
And I had my doubts. I’ve never read a pastiche before. So before purchasing my copy of the book, I did some research. There have been many authors (going back to as early as the 1950s) who’ve tried their hand at writing new adventures featuring the world’s best consulting detective. But it was the first time the Doyle Estate had authorized someone to write a new Sherlock Holmes story for them. They chose Anthony Horowitz for this task – The House of Silk is his first Sherlock Holmes novel.
Satisfied with my findings, I plunged head-on into this new adventure with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.
As with the originals, the book is a narration from the point of view of Dr. Watson. The tale begins when Holmes and Watson get a visit from one Edmund Carstairs, an art dealer. He feels that his life is in danger and that a particular loose end (an American gangster) from his last visit to America has followed him back home, to London, to kill him. As Holmes and Watson try to make sense of the mysterious happenings at Carstairs’ house, they get drawn into much more sinister events. More sinister than American gangsters.
One of Holmes’ loyal Baker Street Irregulars gets murdered while on an errand for Holmes, and he feels personally responsible for the kid’s gruesome death. While on the pursuit of the murderer, the duo keeps hearing the words House of Silk. The events at the Carstairs’, the kid’s murder, and the House of Silk – are they three unrelated events? Or are they connected to each other? Holmes has to get to the bottom of this, and he has to do it soon. More lives are in danger, particularly his!
With a lot of twists and turns, the story takes you through the streets of erstwhile London, a murky and foreboding city. Every step you make, every corner you take – they are riddled with knives and guns and dens of opium.
The House of Silk makes a good read – be it for the Holmes aficionado, or for a lover of mysteries.
The author has done a fantastic job. The pastiche doesn’t seem like one to me at all (but then, this is my first try at reading one). The only giveaway would probably be the delicate balance he has achieved between the English used in the stories from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s era to the one used presently. To quote him – “It’s quite difficult to pastiche nineteenth-century English in a way that won’t put off twentieth-century readers, particularly younger ones.”
So here you go. Another whodunnit for the mystery/crime lovers! Read the book if you haven’t.
As for me? I can’t wait to get started on Moriarty!
Favorites from the book:
Favorite Quote: Childhood, after all, is the first precious coin that poverty steals from a child.
Favorite Character: Dr. John Watson, because how else will we have got to know about the brilliance that is Sherlock Holmes?