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The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel [Hardcover]

Anthony Horowitz
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 2011
For the first time in its one-hundred-and-twenty-five-year history, the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate has authorized a new Sherlock Holmes novel.

Once again, THE GAME'S AFOOT...

London, 1890. 221B Baker St. A fine art dealer named Edmund Carstairs visits Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson to beg for their help. He is being menaced by a strange man in a flat cap - a wanted criminal who seems to have followed him all the way from America. In the days that follow, his home is robbed, his family is threatened. And then the first murder takes place.

Almost unwillingly, Holmes and Watson find themselves being drawn ever deeper into an international conspiracy connected to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston, the gaslit streets of London, opium dens and much, much more. And as they dig, they begin to hear the whispered phrase-the House of Silk-a mysterious entity that connects the highest levels of government to the deepest depths of criminality. Holmes begins to fear that he has uncovered a conspiracy that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of society.

The Arthur Conan Doyle Estate chose the celebrated, #1 New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz to write The House of Silk because of his proven ability to tell a transfixing story and for his passion for all things Holmes. Destined to become an instant classic, The House of Silk brings Sherlock Holmes back with all the nuance, pacing, and almost superhuman powers of analysis and deduction that made him the world's greatest detective, in a case depicting events too shocking, too monstrous to ever appear in print...until now.

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Review

"Exceptionally entertaining ... one can only applaud Horowitz's skill ... impressive ... an altogether terrific period thriller and one of the best Sherlockian pastiches of our time."—The Washington Post

"The latest edition to [Sherlock's] distinguished legacy...Admirers of Horowitz's ITV series, Foyle's War, and Sherlockians will delight in equal measure. With consummate grasp, Horowitz unfolds an intricate and rewarding mystery in the finest Victorian tradition...For all its deft and loving fidelity, THE HOUSE OF SILK sees the great detective in grisly and unfamiliar straits."—Vanity Fair

"Cliffhanger plotting... Watson's elegiac voice should silence the objections of even the most persnickety Sherlock scholar."—NPR

"A book firmly rooted in the style of Doyle, faithful to the character as created and with just enough wiggle room to allow the author to say all the things he's been longing to say about the world of 221B Baker Street...THE HOUSE OF SILK will satisfy."—The Huffington Post

"Enormously involving and entertaining, and even funny in parts... Classic tales such as the Arthur Conan Doyle stories carry the ideals and anxieties of their age, and of later ones. THE HOUSE OF SILK capably does the same."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"The hype surrounding what's being billed as the first pastiche ever officially approved by the Conan Doyle estate is amply justified ... authentic. Horowitz gets everything right-the familiar narrative voice, brilliant deductions, a very active role for Watson, and a perplexing and disturbing series of puzzles to unravel-and the legion of fans of the originals will surely be begging for Horowitz to again dip into Watson's trove of untold tales."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Nicely captures the storytelling tone of Holmes' inventor in a galloping adventure that boasts enough twists, ominous turns and urgent nocturnal escapades to make modern moviemakers salivate ... Author Horowitz delivers some dramatic tableaux in these pages, including a railway robbery, a prison escape and a horse-drawn carriage chase ... the Holmes we see here is just as cryptic and clever as we've come to expect."—Kirkus Reviews

"Horowitz truly pulls off the wonderful illusion that Arthur Conan Doyle left us one last tale... Close your eyes and you can smell the shag tobacco of Holmes' church warded pipe as he sorts through the evidence."—San Diego Union Tribune

"Worthy of [its] canonical inspiration ... an impressive read ... Horowitz plots masterfully, foregrounding Holmes' trademark investigative techniques against Watson's pacey narration."—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"A tone-perfect, action-packed story of corruption, greed and dissolution, all the while capturing the sights, smells and social problems of 1890's London...This reader, albeit no Holmes expert, totally forgot the novel wasn't from Doyle himself."—The Cleaveland Plain Dealer

"An homage to the Holmes canon; Horowitz does a fine job with the atmospheric setting and tense plotting, and he captures Watson's voice and Holmes' character well. The crimes they uncover will, even in the 21st century, have a shocking ripped-from-the-headlines impact."—St. Petersburg Times

"Can Horowitz astonish us? Can he thrill us? ... Emphatically, yes!"—The Guardian (UK)

"The author excels at turning his readers into 'Watsons' who are devoted to Holmes and enthusiastically leap into danger just to follow the detective throughout a case...The characterization of Holmes and Watson is true to the original but also offers greater insight into a fascinating friendship...Horowitz even knows how to write a riveting chase scene that, were it filmed for Ritchie's movie franchise, would certainly be an adrenaline-fueled cinematic climax...for its attention to character, quality of plot, and Horowitz's familiarity with the original stories, it scores highly."—PopMatters.com

About the Author

Anthony Horowitz is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Alex Rider series and the award-winning writer of PBS's Foyle's War, Collision, Injustice as well as many other film and television projects. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hardly Elementary My Dear Reader Dec 16 2011
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Kudos to Mr. Horowitz for taking on such a project. To be the first officially authorized Sherlock Holmes novel in 125 years, as granted by the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate, is a daunting task. Any use of this icon is subject to intense scrutiny by legions of fans and the clubs dedicated to his study and enjoyment. As a fan of Foyle's War, I was sure Mr. Horowitz would be a stickler for detail which was so ably demonstrated in that Second World War mystery series.

What struck me most was how well he captured the tonality of Holmes and Watson - he positively channeled Conan Doyle. He brings the environs of 1890's London to life, as well as, the dialogue of the period from Baker Street Irregulars to beat cops to upper society. Pacing is very good - nothing drags and suspense is in good supply. In terms of plot, he employs a very common Holmes convention of two overlapping and interweaving stories. And while I surmised one of them quite quickly, it did not take away from interest or pleasure of the entire novel.

What carries the book is the relationship between Holmes and Watson and the author's decision for the latter to write this as a memoir in his waning days. It is quite clear that Horowitz has a passion and fondness for these two and it is expressed throughout. I look forward to lively discussions of this book with members of the Sherlock Holmes club I belong to ... A Study in Scotch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elementary March 11 2012
By Ted Feit TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Maybe it's a coming trend. First the Gershwin estate authorizes a Broadway version of 'Porgy & Bess,' in an attempt to milk its assets. Then the Arthur Conan Doyle estate authorizes for the first time a Sherlock Holmes novel. Another similar event and we might just be enjoying a fad.

Be that as it may, this novel is based on one of the many unpublished adventures of the famous detective, with Watson, now retired, recalling one last case a year after Holmes' death. It begins when a London art dealer visits Baker Street and tells Holmes and Watson about his confrontation in the United States with a Boston gang which has murdered a customer of his and which he believes followed him back to England. From this flows an intriguing tale far afield from the original surmise.

The writing flows like an original Sherlock Holmes tale, and the logic and analysis reflect the virtuosity and great mind of the singular detective. Too often attempts to recreate classics fail or end up being something else. Such is not the case with this novel, and it is recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great listen! Jan. 24 2012
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Once I discovered Sherlock Holmes in my younger years, I devoured every tale, fascinated with Holmes' powers of observation and deductions.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died in 1930. The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz is the first time a new Holmes story has been sanctioned by his estate.

I started to listen to the book with, I must admit, with more than a little trepidation. Would it do justice to Doyle's characters? Would the story have the same 'feel'?

1890's London England. Sherlock Holmes is called in by an art dealer who fears a member of the Flat Cap Gang has followed him from America to Britain and means him harm. Aided by the trusty Dr. John Watson, Holmes begins investigating - aided by the young Baker Street Irregulars. One of the boys ends up dead - and the case leads to places and people that believe they're untouchable. And really you don't need much more of the plot, as it truly is a Sherlock tale. Horowitz has done a fantastic job of recapturing the tone of previous works - the back and forth between Holmes and Watson, the clues and deductions, the Victorian settings and more.

As I mentioned, I chose to listen to the audio version. And am I ever glad I did! Derek Jacobi did a simply amazing job. His voice is so expressive and rich and captured completely the tone of the story and the characters.

The House of Silk is climbing up bestseller lists - and with good reason. Definitely recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars didn't like Jan. 24 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I wish I had read the book first as I would not have bought the book on cd. Anthony Horowitz is a fantastic writer but no one should try to write Sherlock Holmes except Conan Doyle.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elementary indeed...... Elementary errors Aug. 17 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I recently read this book and found it an excellent tribute to the style of Conan Doyle, and a great read to boot. What I didn't like was to continually encounter examples of sloppy writing and poor editing. These examples are not matters of interpretation or opinion - they're simple spelling and grammatical errors, many of which should have been picked up by the most primitive electronic editing device, and which seriously impact the pleasure of reading. The most egregious is when he calls a key character the wrong name! (Page 221 - Fitzwilliams instead of Fitzsimmons). Who is responsible for these errors? The author? The publisher? (I couldn't find an "Editor" as such, and that may be telling). I have just recently re-read all of Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes stories, and found virtually no errors of any significance in over 2000 pages.

The Afterword of the book brought a delicious irony. Resting in the nursing home near the end of his life, with the manuscript of The House of Silk almost finished, his attending nurse says: "Nearly finished, Dr Watson? I'm sure there are still a few loose ends that need tying up. Dot the i's and cross the t's,.....". If only Mr. Horowitz himself had taken the advice of this character!
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