This week’s choice is a brand new mystery with Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson – but is it as good as Arthur Conan Doyle’s originals?
It’s London in November 1890 and 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. They begin to hear the whispered words ‘the House of Silk’… but what does the phrase mean? And what links London’s foggy streets with the violent underworld that seethes in the American city of Boston?
JUDY SAYS: ‘I’ve never read a Sherlock Holmes story. To be honest, they didn’t hold any particular appeal for me. Obviously, I’ve seen the various films and TV versions, and mostly enjoyed them, but the books themselves? No thanks. Anthony Horowitz has changed all that and I can’t wait to get stuck in to the originals now. This book evokes a powerful sense of late-Victorian London. At 221b Baker Street, a clearly agitated gentleman being stalked by a menacing man begs Holmes for help. ‘The game’s afoot, Watson!’ And indeed it is. This is quite simply one of the best detective mysteries I have read for a long time. Congratulations, Mr Horowitz. Can we have another one please?’
RICHARD SAYS: ‘With Sherlock Holmes recently returning to both the small and large screens, with Benedict Cumberbatch’s updated TV series and Robert Downey Jnr’s period movie, this homage from Anthony Horowitz is timely. As a devoted Holmes fan – I’d read every single one of Conan Doyle’s stories by the time I was fifteen, and I re-read them to this day – I’d say The House of Silk is virtually indistinguishable from the genuine article. The tone, style, and plotting could be that of Conan Doyle himself. It’s all here. Dr Watson’s deep admiration and affection for his friend; Holmes’s dry teasing of his partner-in-crime; the great detective’s seemingly supernatural powers of deduction which always resolve themselves into commonplace observations. The House of Silk is a minor masterpiece.’
OUR READER SAYS: ‘As a big Sherlock fan I was interested to see if a new novel could live up to the original detective series. This did not disappoint.A good old fashioned mystery, Horowitz perfectly captures the language and style of the era, producing a novel in keeping with the spirit of Holmes and the voice of Dr Watson. The plot twists and turns rapidly, leading Holmes from the slums of London to the country houses of the aristocracy, to shoot-outs and gypsy fortune tellers, opium dens and prisons. Of course, Holmes ties all the different threads together nicely at the end and provides us with a traditionally satisfying ending, explaining events logically and rationally as is his want.’
Melanie Daniels, 35, Doncaster
HAVE YOUR SAY! Read this book? Join in with the Richard and Judy Book Club online or if you’ve read the book, why not post your review below? Happy reading!
If you like this, try these…
The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld (£7.99, Headline)
A pacy historical thriller set in New York at the dawn of modern detective practices.
Death Comes to Pemberley by P D James (£7.99, Faber)
The mistress of the crime novel creates a mystery set in the age of Jane Austen – a really satisfying read.
Sherlock – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (£6.99, Random House BBC Books)
The original stories from Conan Doyle, with Holmes at his most ingenious and Watson at his trustiest.