Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sister Sundays| Review: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz



Book: The House of Silk

Author: Anthony Horowitz

Pages: 389

Time it took me read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Sherlock and Dr. Watson are back! And this time they face one of their toughest challenges ever.

The book blurb says- It is November 1890 and London is gripped by a merciless winter. Holmes and Watson are enjoying tea by the fireplace 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'..

The story starts with an art dealer- Edward Carstairs- who comes asking for help as he is being stalked by a supposed member of the Boston (Irish) mob. 'The Flat Cap' case is what Watson refers to this case, given the supposed stalker is always seen wearing a flat cap- a sign of the Flat Cap gang of Boston. Things start getting more mysterious as the stalker himself is found dead and there are clues that point to an organization called 'The House of Silk'.

What is interesting is that this book is the only non-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle written work on Holmes which was officially recognized and commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate. So, this is, sort of, a legit extension of the Sherlock Holmes canon.

Characters: Obviously, since this book is about Sherlock Holmes, we have our two main characters- Holmes and Dr. Watson. Apart from that we have their trusted friend in Scotland Yard- Detective Lestrade- who plays an important role in the narrative.

We are also introduced to the various members of the Carstairs family- Edward, his new American wife- Catherine- and his sister- Eliza. These are nicely etched out characters and being so help the reader form his/her own theories about what is what- always a good thing to have in a 'detective' novel.

Then there are the Baker Street Irregulars aka the street kids that act as informants and lookouts for Holmes. We get to see the kind of tough life these street kids live and the multiple ways in which they can be exploited.

What I Liked: I really enjoyed this book because of the actual plot and the multiple mysteries that it provided. There are two inter-connected crimes/mysteries in this book- one of the 'Flat Cap' fellow and the other of the 'House of Silk'. Both are equally well sketched out and engrossing and the author makes it very challenging for the reader to guess what is going on- which is always a wonderful thing when it comes to the crime/thriller genre. Also, the book felt like it was one of the original works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and that is saying a lot!

What I Didn't Like: Nothing really. This is a thoroughly enjoyable book.

Rating: 4.5/5

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