Sherlock Holmes fans, rejoice! This isn’t Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writing, but it rings so authentic that it may as well be. All the period detail you have come to expect, along with the foggy, dank streets of London, Holmes’s acerbic eccentricity, and of course, his unerring logic mix together to form a delightful trip back to 221B Baker Street.
"Excellent writing and intricate plotting make Anthony Horowitz’s THE HOUSE OF SILK a must-read for Sherlock Holmes buffs. The wrap-up would make Doyle envious of its cleverness."
Dr. Watson has one last story to tell, despite the sad circumstances. “It is a year since Holmes was found at his home on the Downs, stretched out and still, that great mind forever silenced.” Now, with the great consulting detective gone from this world, Watson feels that this ghastly tale --- impossible to tell before --- must be set down in order to complete Holmes’s casebook.
Edmund Carstairs, a London art dealer, presents himself at Mrs. Hudson’s rooming house, requesting an audience with the celebrated Sherlock Holmes. He believes he is being stalked by a malevolent Irishman intent upon killing him. He relates the circumstances of a year earlier, in Boston, when this man’s twin was shot dead, and Carstairs’s name happened to be linked to the death. The art dealer fled America in terror, quickly boarding a ship bound for England, but he has seen the Irishman’s face outside his home. Understanding the closeness that twins share, he now fears for his life. Can Holmes possibly help him?
There is nothing Sherlock Holmes likes better than to be presented with a thorny problem. The more impossible it appears on the surface, the more excited he becomes. But this time, what begins as a fairly simple problem soon turns into more than he or Dr. Watson could ever have bargained for. They are thrust into danger beyond imagining, up against powerful people in some very high places --- and some very low ones indeed.
It seems that Holmes deliberately walks into a trap, leaving Watson in a great deal of distress and wondering what to do. Unsurprisingly, except maybe to himself, the doctor reads the situation well enough to be of benefit to his friend. He would sorely like for Holmes’s brother, Mycroft, to come to their rescue, though Mycroft has told them there is nothing more he can do. But there is a startling ally in the person of Inspector Lestrade, a man who never appreciated Holmes’s talents and looked upon them with disdain. So here we see a different side of the English policeman.
The question becomes: What is the House of Silk? Clues are dropped and leads followed, but still it remains elusive. And Holmes begins to wonder how, if at all, it’s tied to his client, Edmund Carstairs. The answers to his questions are shocking.
Excellent writing and intricate plotting make Anthony Horowitz’s THE HOUSE OF SILK a must-read for Sherlock Holmes buffs. The wrap-up would make Doyle envious of its cleverness. All perfectly well explained --- elementary, of course --- the pieces fall beautifully into place, in a way that, I suspect, no reader will guess.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on September 28, 2011