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The House of Silk Hardcover – November 1, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 537 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Horowitz has captured Holmes Heaven -- Marcel Berlins THE TIMES Horowitz plays a perfectly straight bat. This is a no-shit Sherlock -- Ian Sansom THE GUARDIAN For fans of the original tales, the game is afoot once more! -- Ruth Hunter, Bookseller's Choice THE BOOKSELLER A lifelong Sherlock Holmes fan, Anthony Horowitz is the perfect choice to pen the first new official mystery and what a triumph it is. While retaining faithfully the style of the originals, Horowitz's lively prose makes this exciting story just right for a new generation of fans -- Sarah Clarke, Bookseller's Choice THE BOOKSELLER Orion has pulled a winner out of the bag by inviting Anthony Horowitz to pen a Sherlock Holmes novel. It has the feel of a Conan Doyle tale and only the jealous will fault this superb thriller -- Patrick Neale, Bookseller's Choice THE BOOKSELLER Bravo, then, Mr Horowitz. Let us hope that the famous dispatch box contains many more cases for him to unearth -- Mark Gatiss FINANCIAL TIMES a brilliant new Sherlock Holmes novel. The tone of voice is pitch perfect, the send of place and time spot on. I don't want to give too much away about the plot but there are clever twist and plenty of trademark Holmesian moments. I thoroughly enjoyed this -- Sue Scholes, Bookseller's Choice THE BOOKSELLER a fantastic new Holmes mystery -- Emma Giacon, Bookseller's Choice THE BOOKSELLER As far as I can see, Anthony Horowitz has done a thoroughly professional job and reading the novel felt to me like being in the company of an old and distinguished friend - or should that be two old friends?' -- Mike Ripley SHOTS Brimming with informed enthusiasm, this skillfully crafted homage to Conan Doyle is so enjoyable that you're sorry when it fades away to the strains of Holmes playing his Stradivarius -- Peter Kemp SUNDAY TIMES an exciting, well-crafted novel -- Andrew Lycett SUNDAY TELEGRAPH Horowitz infuses the novel with a superb eye for the detail of Victorian London but also a touching sense of melancholy, the book functioning as a subtle final coda to Holmes's adventures. Crucially, it also has a cracking plot and is a labyrinthine but eminently lucid page-turner. It is ultimately a homage and you wouldn't want Horowitz to start churning Holmes novels out but as a stand-alone this is very satisfying METRO It's immediately clear how he got the full endorsement of the Conan Doyle estate. Horowitz's grasp of the creator's prose style and intricate plotting, coupled with his understanding of the dynamic between Holmes and Watson, is extraordinary -- Henry Sutton DAILY MIRROR - 4-star review Looks set to entertain Holmes traditionalists and Sherlock newcomers alike. November 1890 is the time, 221B Baker Street the place, and Holmes and his faithful companion Dr Watson receive an unannounced visit from an agitated gentleman. Let the fun - and there is plenty of it - begin SPORT Giving none of the twists away, this is one for Holmesians who aren't sated by the new film and series WE LOVE THIS BOOK Sherlock Holmes has popped his clogs (and so has Conan Doyle for that matter), but that doesn't mean there's not a hauntingly good new Sherlocky story to be told. This reworking gives old Dr Watson a chance to tell his side. Finally! THE SUN a fresh take on the Sherlock Holmes tales, swirling with all the suspense of the originals -- Must Read SUNDAY TIMES compulsive Conan Doyle tribute WOMAN & HOME Yet another Sherlock Holmes imitiation? The field is crowded but with one bound Horowitz - well known for his children's books and TV scripts - takes the lead, with his perfect mimicry of Conan Doyle's style and Dr Watson's tone of voice. There is a suitably baffling mystery and the great detective is on top form. It's very good; dare I say as good as the original? -- Jessica Mann LITERARY REVIEW this deliciously aromatic three-pipe problem -- Christopher Bray DAILY EXPRESS The story speeds along like a hard-driven phaeton -- David Robinson THE SCOTSMAN Derek Jacobi reads Dr Watson's last story, said to have been hidden in the vaults of a London solicitor for a century because of the scandal within. Horowitz takes Holmes deeper into the capital's dark underbelly than Conan Doyle ever did -- Radio Choices THE TIMES It'll keep you guessing until the very end SHORTLIST It's a pacy read that delights in the world Arthur Conan Doyle created while adding a little something extra WORD Horowitz stays true not only to the Victorian turn of phrase, but embeds the story within the context of Conan Doyle's other tales - offering up plenty of knowing nods to Holmes aficionados, while luring in the novices too PSYCHOLOGIES Impressive -- Susan Jeffreys' Radio Week DAILY MAIL Sherlock Holmes if framed for murder by a dastardly secret society in Horowitz's inventive yarn, the first sequel ever to be endorsed by the Conan Doyle estate -- Jake Kerridge DAILY TELEGRAPH Perfectly paced, entirely unpredictable, edge-of-seat exciting and a total joy from start to finish. The more of it I read, the more I looked forward to basking in Holmes's deductive brilliance at the end: the solutions that are obvious once you know them but completely unguessable until you do. I am happy to report that all the required ingredients had been added; neither Holmes nor Horowitz let me down -- Sophie Hannah SUNDAY EXPRESS It seems improbable, if not impossible, but it's true! Holmes is back at his best THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'Fans of Sherlock Holmes rejoice, for the game is afoot again' 5-stars -- Daneet Steffens TIME OUT a thoroughly first-rate job -- Nicholas Lezard THE SPECTATOR 20111117 He has added a truly diverting entry to the canon. -- Barry Forshaw THE INDEPENDENT 20111116 It's a brilliant pastiche, with a wonderful sense of time and place -- Christie Hickman SUNDAY EXPRESS 20111127 The period detail is poured on like gravy and there are enough nods to previous cases to fill the most demanding Holmesian with delight -- Mark Sanderson EVENING STANDARD 20111124 Were Conan Doyle still alive, I think he would be very grateful that Anthony Horowitz has so successfully recreated the detective he tried so hard to shake off towards the end. This is the first Sherlock Holmes novel that has been written with the full endorsement of the Doyle estate and they have evidently chosen the right man for the job -- Carla McKay DAILY MAIL 20111125 Enthusiastically replicating the spirit, style, suspense and atmosphere of Conan Doyles' stories, this skilfully crafted homage is an irresistible read SUNDAY TIMES Christmas Books 20111127 But this review is no murder mystery, so I needn't keep you in suspense as to the end result, the final summation, any longer: with no further ado, then - none at all, no sir - The House of Silk is, in short...terrific -- Niall Alexander TOR.COM 20111123 This is a brilliant novel, made all the more welcome by the fact that Horowitz has stepped into the shoes of an acclaimed and beloved author and has taken time and effort to ensure this novel can stand proud next to the works of Conan Doyle -- Madeleine Marsh REVIEWING THE EVIDENCE.COM A definite success BIG ISSUE 20111121 Anthony Horowitz takes the mantle from Arthur Conan Doyle with grace. The tone is appropriate, without sounding too Victorian. Let's hope Mr Horowitz brings to light other unknown cases solved by Holmes (aided by Dr Watson, of course). CRIME TIME 20111205 As teenagers really enjoy the original Holmes stories, I think they'll go for this too. Ingeniously, it adds an element missing in Conan Doyle: social comment' -- Charlie Higson MAIL ON SUNDAY 20111211 This is an excellent and highly recommended addition to the Holmes cannon THE WORD 20120101 Sherlock Holmes fans have been well served by Anthony Horowitz's new adventure, The House of Silk, in which Holmes sets down an early case too shocking to be published in his lifetime -- Justine Jordan THE GUARDIAN 20111203 Horowitz, commissioned by the Conan Doyle estate, provides pitch-perfect atmosphere in a novel that's both a tribute to Holmes' creator and a grace note, with a politically damning conundrum at its heart -- Christopher Fowler FINANCIAL TIMES 20111203 Within seconds of being invited by the Conan Doyle estate to write a new Sherlock Holmes novel. Anthony Horowitz was off the starting-blocks, piecing together a plot as involved and involving as the best of the originals. -- Maggie Fergusson INTELLIGENT LIFE 20120101 Anthony Horowitz's new Sherlock Holmes novel The House of Silk is superb - indeed, I would say it is better than any of Conan Doyle's own Holmes novels, which always feel padded out in comparison with the gripping short stories. -- Charles Spencer DAILY TELEGRAPH 20111219 As to whether he should write another; well, the man with the pipe would nod approvingly. RTE GUIDE 20111210 I really, really enjoyed The House of Silk, it drew me in. I loved spending time with Holmes and Watson again and was gripped and tricked along the way. I just loved the adventure of it all. It doesn't try to take Holmes anywhere new that the loyal fans will be unhappy with, nor does it become a pastiche of a Holmes novel. I knew it wasn't Conan Doyle but I knew I was in safe hands. SAVIDGE READS 20111118 As you'd expect from the creator of Foyle's War and Midsomer Murders, the narrative is exciting and the mystery baffling. Actually, that should be 'mysteries'. Mr Horowitz presents us with one puzzle, then introduces a quite different one, and cleverly leads us through the labyrinth until, with a flourish of his magician's staff, he reveals the devilish connection between them. THE DISTRICT MESSENGER Newsletter of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London 20111124 Another adult novel suitable for this cohort is Anthony Horowitz's The House of Silk. A Sherlock Holmes tale, narrated by Watson but considered too shocking for publication in the good doctor's own time, it is a tight atmospheric thriller of dismal foggy London. IRISH INDEPENDENT 20111211 I approached this novel with some trepidation. This new adventure, approved by the Conan Doyle estate, seems to have stemmed from the same idea that led to Jeffrey Deaver's James Bond reinvention Carte Blanche, a novel so diabolically dull that it seemed to suc...

About the Author

Anthony Horowitz may have committed more (fictional) murders than any other living author. As a TV screenwriter he created both MIDSOMER MURDERS and the BAFTA-winning FOYLE'S WAR. Other TV work includes POIROT and the widely acclaimed mini-series COLLISION and INJUSTICE. He is also the author of a string of bestselling children's books, including the Alex Rider series which has sold 13 million copies worldwide. He has often claimed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to be an inspiration for his work ever since encountering the Holmes canon, aged sixteen. He currently lives in Clerkenwell.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; First Edition edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409133826
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409133827
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (537 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,401,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Morris Massel on November 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz is a new Sherlock Holmes novel, which is the first officially sanctioned take-off of Sherlock Holmes by the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate. For the Sherlock Holmes lover, this is a must read. For everyone else, I'd highly recommend it.

Anthony Horowitz is a famed writer of young adult action novels (the Alex Rider series) and also an acclaimed writer of the PBS series Foyle's War (a must see for mystery lovers/WWII buffs). His connections to Sherlock Holmes and the Canon were not as established.

Conan Doyle had a distinct writing style (somewhat sparse on detail of Victorian life but more than enough to fill the canvas) and created vivid and memorable characters. Although Holmes solved his share of murders, he also solved all kinds of other crimes and mysteries. Creating the perfect pastiche requires echoing Conan Doyle and remembering that Holmes was not a superhero (as he is portrayed in the Robert Downey, Jr. movies).

In The House of Silk, Horowitz gets it right on all counts. The tone, the writing, the characters and even the plotting matches up beautifully with Conan Doyle. Horowitz also brings back other minor characters from the Canon for non-distracting cameo appearances, which is a delight for lovers of the Canon. Yet, Horowitz makes Sherlock his own, creating a story with a bit more action than Conan Doyle gave us, which will keep you glued to the book. The story is a classic tale of Holmes and Watson, with Watson as the narrator. Watson writes the story after Holmes has passed away and seals it away for one hundred years because the story is to explosive to be shared during their lifetimes. From there, the story unfolds with two unrelated story lines, the action builds and Horowitz captures your imagination. If like mysteries at all, this is one not to miss. If you love Sherlock Holmes, this is a must read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
60 years ago, as a teenager, I devoured the complete Sherlock Holmes lexicon with the greatest of excitement and joy. Since then I have read, watched and listened carefully -- Holmes-like -- to all things Sherlock. Sometimes pleased (the early Britt portrayals) sometimes disgusted (Robert Downey, Jr, need I say more?) I have hungered and thirsted for the real Sherlock. And here he is, in his full and real glory, on the trail of the bad guys, making progress from the slightest of clues, adding two and two and getting the real answer, not the four I get with the evidence. This is the real Holmes in the real London with the real characters we knew and loved but with devilishly new crimes to stop and perplexing trails to follow. As anyone who watched "Foyle's War" knows, Horowitz is a genius, never more than here. Every nuance, every phrase, every fog-lit street, everything is right -- Sherlock and Watson are back, and we can all say hallelujah!
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The House of Silk is over hyped which probably caused me to rate it lower than I might have had it not been touted as the second coming of Conan Doyle.

First, there have been many authorized additions to the Canon. This is hardly the first and most definitely not the best. My personal favorite is The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes by Adrian Conan Doyle ( son and 'literary executor' of Arthur Conan Doyle ) and John Dickson Carr ( well worth reading for his own stories under his name and his pen name of Carter Dickson ).

Second, Horowitz seems to have attempted to modernize the attitudes, actions and style to suit today's audience. We lose some of the Victorian charm and the feeling of being in another era. I find that detracts from the book.

Third, both the Holmes' seem somewhat out of character. Sherlock is less the analytic machine, cold and emotionless and more moody, brooding and a bit weepy. It takes too long for him to return to character. Mycroft is more concerned with keeping his position than doing what is right for the country. It feels like Horowitz takes book time to allow his characters to find their pace.

Fourth, Horowitz finds it necessary to provide a back story in the preface that is not necessary to the story. I didn't find that it added much beyond page count.

In spite of all those negative words, Horowitz is an experience and capable writer. It may take a while to for the reader to discover that. And, eventually there is a sufficiency of action and mystery to keep the puzzle solver distracted and attracted.

The bottom line is that it is a book worth reading. It's just not as good or as unique as the publisher would like us to believe.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading "The House of Silk" a few hours ago. I'm a lifelong Sherlock Holmes aficionado, at least since receiving the complete canon on my 13th birthday. Since then, I've read any even-halfway-promising pastiche that has come out. Of course, these range from very good to dreadful (for the latter, see my Amazon review of "Sherlock Holmes And The Lyme Regis Horror").

I rate the House of Silk (read an Advanced Reader's Copy) by far the best pastiche I've ever read. The story line is exciting and interesting. Holmes' and Watson's characters are remarkably consistent with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's (ACD) portrayals. And, unlike numerous other pastiches, Holmes is at the top of his deduction and detection form.

Though the writing seems consistent overall with that in the canon, the only note of discordance, as mentioned in the title of my review, is that Horowitz's writing is superior to that of Doyle's - more flowing and clear. Purportedly written by Watson towards the end of his life, the faithful doctor is more reflective and revelatory than in his "earlier stories." Comments on Mycroft, Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade were original, illuminated their and Watson's characters and relationships, and, again, consistent with how they were portrayed by ACD - just "deeper." These expansions were all believable, coming from an older, more experienced, more thoughtful Watson, who accepts he's nearing the end of his natural life.

Can't recommend this book highly enough. Only strongly hope that this is just the beginning of Horowitz's Holmes' novels.
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