TITLE: THE HOUSE OF SILK
AUTHOR: ANTHONY HOROWITZ
Details: A Sherlock Holmes Story
Dr. Watson is staying with Sherlock Holmes for a while when a visitor is admitted to their rooms. The obviously distraught gentleman tells them a tale of dramatic events in Boston that have followed him home to threaten his life in Wimbledon. Intrigued Holmes agrees to investigate only to have his apparent solving of the case lead to the disappearance and subsequent murder of a teenage boy who was a recent new recruit to Holmes' team of street-urchin assistants. The only clue the two men have is an obscure reference to The House of Silk.
Neither Holmes nor Watson is able to make sense of the reference, and inquiries with Holmes’ brother Mycroft only lead to the pair being warned of the case in the strongest terms.
Not one to be scared of, the warning achieves little other than to make Holmes more determined to discover what is being kept so secret; a decision which will see him in prison as well as in mortal danger.
Holmes and Watson find themselves up against an evil with the power to prevent any inquiries, an evil worse than anything they have come up against before and an evil that will do anything to stop those standing in its way.
This new Sherlock Holmes mystery is very much written in the style of Conan Doyle’s originals. Holmes is his infuriating and uninformative self, with Watson as his loyal but not too bright friend and assistant.
The descriptions of London in 1890, and especially those of the poorer parts of the city, are clear and fascinating and firmly put the story in its context.
The mystery is well plotted although the story is not one I could imagine the original author coming up with.
There was one part of the mystery that I had figured out fairly early on. I was definitely ahead of our Dr. Watson in that case, although it is of course impossible to know when exactly Holmes came to his conclusion.
On the other hand I had completely missed the clues relating to the second part of the mystery. I would love to say more about this, and explain exactly what I mean but I’m afraid I can’t do that without including possible spoilers. Part of the pleasure in reading this book was the fact that the final twist managed to take me more or less completely by surprise, and I wouldn’t want to deprive others of that treat.
I’d say that anyone who enjoys the original Sherlock Holmes stories will also enjoy this book, as would most other mystery lovers.
This is a well paced story that keeps you guessing even when you think you have the answers, and therefore a good read.