The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

*I enjoyed reading Anthony Horowitz’s book, The House of Silk. It’s pacy, full of atmosphere and mystery, and above all it captures the essence of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Horowitz’s plot is cunning, full of twists and turns, with allusions to Conan Doyle’s stories.

Synopsis from the book cover:

It is November 1890 and London is gripped by a merciless winter. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are enjoying tea by the fire when an agitated gentleman arrives unannounced at 221b Baker Street. He begs Holmes for help, telling the unnerving story of a scar-faced man with piercing eyes who has stalked him in recent weeks. Intrigued, Holmes and Watson find themselves swiftly drawn into a series of puzzling and sinister events, stretching from the gas-lit streets of London to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston and the mysterious ‘House of Silk’ . . .

My view:

The book is narrated by Watson as he looks back on two of the most puzzling and sinister cases he and Homes had to solve November 1890 – that of The Man in the Flat Cap and The House of Silk. The first involves an art dealer, Mr Carstairs who is being threatened by a member of the American Flat Cap Gang, whereas the second concerns the murder of Ross, a new member of the Baker Street Irregulars, the scruffy, ragged gang of street urchins Sherlock Holmes uses to help him track down criminals. For a while I couldn’t see how these cases connected, or indeed if they did, as Horowitz effortlessly spun the wool over my eyes .

I haven’t read anything by Anthony Horowitz before, although when I read that he is a TV screenwriter, including Midsomer Murders, Foyles War and Poirot to his name I realised that I’ve certainly enjoyed his work before. He’s also written bestselling children’s books, including the Alex Rider series.

I’m not often keen on pastiches,  prequels or sequels written by a different author from the original but this one is the exception. The House of Silk is vastly entertaining, a page-turner, full of detail and great characterisation, with Holmes at the peak of his powers, even though it nearly costs him his life. I do hope there will be a second book.

*Edited after first publishing – see comments*.

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