Book Review- The House of Silk- The New Sherlock Holmes Novel

0221204HBO01MI have read quite a few of the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes books, mostly the short stories and also The Hound of the Baskervilles which is a novel but a short one as the stories were originally serialised in newspapers.

Certainly the ingenuity of the crimes and their subsequent solving are what make the stories captivating but I always found them a little frustrating (particularly the short stories) as an unsolvable mystery would be set up only to be solved by Holmes’ knowledge of a secret half-brother to the Duke of Istanopia or something…  Also The Hound of the Baskervilles, whilst being an interesting story has no where near enough hounds!

This new proper length Holmes novel is by Anthony Horowitz and the plot is given more space to develop, Holmes still (to a certain degree) pops up at the end to solve the day because he knew the answer ten minutes into the case but was slightly distracted by other events leaving Watson to actually do some (unnecessary) detecting work.  As usual this story has been written by Holmes’ long suffering companion John Watson and I particularly liked Watson’s voice in this book as he is writing it up years after it happened giving him (and us) the benefit of hindsight.

It’s hard to explain the plot of the book without giving too much away but Holmes is called in to investigate a suspected stalker who is on a mission of vengeance after a violent train robbery leads to several deaths.   But the plot becomes much more complicate as another (much creepier) mystery becomes entwined with the first.  And the whole book becomes something of a blood bath as the body count piles up!

Still I found it engaging and enjoyable, the writing style felt of-the-time (1913 ish) without being inaccessible.  I was able to finish it off in a few days whilst being the non-driver of a two person road trip team!  I would say that it’s the best Sherlock Holmes book I’ve read whilst being fairly faithful to the original character (although I think the Holmes in this story is a lot more concerned with the plight of the poor than he ever was in the original stories).