A fine art dealer comes begging for Sherlock’s help, as he has been menaced by a strange man; a wanted man that has followed him all the way from America. Art dealer named Edmund Carstairs then finds his home robbed, family threatened and then his client murdered. Unwillingly Holmes and Watson find themselves in a conspiracy connecting London to the Boston underground by an opium den known as the House of Silk.
For the first time in One hundred and twenty five years the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate have officially authorised a Sherlock Holmes novel. Anthony Horowitz’s novel tries to capture the style and feel of the original Sherlock novels but I never really felt that he got Arthur Conan Doyle’s style right. It felt stripped back and less complex than the Sherlock novels I’ve actually read and then there is a slight modernisation to the writing that can be very difficult to hide.
Watson is back as the unreliable narrator documenting their adventures, while the mystery and conspiracy in House of Silk are well plotted and play out rather well. I tend to think this is more of a Robert Downey Jnr’s style Sherlock Holmes rather than the Conan Doyle one. Diehard fans will probably enjoy another adventure but I can’t help but wonder if this book would be better played out with some original characters.
House of Silk came off rather dull in parts and while I haven’t read many Sherlock novels I can’t help but compare it with the ones I have read and Anthony Horowitz’s attempt was close but never felt the same. Tiny little things like the phrase “the game is afoot” being changed to “the game’s afoot” really helped show the differences.
While I did enjoy House of Silk as a novel, I don’t think there was anything spectacular about it. While this an officially authorised Sherlock novel (debatable, Caleb Carr’s The Italian Secretary and Lyndsay Faye’s Dust and Shadow are both approved by the estate) it is not the same. I think I would rather read a Benedict Cumberbatch style Sherlock novel rather than another attempt at trying to replicate Conan Doyle’s style and plots.